A Win-Win-Win Volunteer Opportunity for Families

What happens when you mix generations, tikkun olam, and groceries? You get the CJFS Senior Grocery Initiative, which improves food security for low-income older adults, teaches children about honoring their elders and caring for those in need and fills Sunday afternoon with fun and meaning—a Win, Win, Win!

In collaboration with the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama, and with the support of the Birmingham Jewish Foundation, CJFS’ Senior Grocery Initiative engages volunteers of all ages in packing and delivering groceries for older adults in need one Sunday per month. Foundation Executive Director Sally Friedman said that in addition to serving low-income seniors, the program is building a bridge to the future. “When children perform acts of kindness alongside their parents, what they remember is the joy of giving back – and that gives us great hope,” she said.

Christie Hagedorn, who recently participated with her son Noah,14, noted that even though the grocery deliveries are quick and easy, they can be extremely meaningful. “It’s very rewarding when you meet the senior you’re taking the food to,” she said.  

The Community Food Bank is distributing the groceries in 12 Central Alabama counties through the USDA Commodity Supplemental Food Program. Launched in July, the program is serving more than 1,000 older adults each month, said Shalitha McLean of the Community Food Bank. “We’re grateful to partners like CJFS who are helping us get this food to the seniors who are experiencing food insecurity,” she said.  

Volunteers may sign up to deliver groceries just once or as often as they choose. Volunteers meet at N.E. Miles Jewish Day School to pack 30 pounds of food for each recipient. All deliveries are within five miles of the school, and the total time commitment is less than 2 hours. To learn more, contact Jennifer Nemet, jennifer@cjfsbham.org or 205-278-7118.

CJFS, a United Way of Central Alabama Partner Agency, is dedicated to enhancing quality of life and strengthening independence for individuals and families, with a primary focus on older adults, by providing exceptional support services in accordance with Jewish values. CJFS serves a client population that is religiously, racially and socioeconomically diverse.