Why I Support CJFS

Why I Support CJFS

CJFS volunteers, clients and participants often become our dedicated donors, and Bernard Stern a CJFS Friends Campaign donor, is no exception. Since he retired in 2016, Bernard has volunteered in three CJFS programs, he is a regular participant in our monthly “Honor Our Parents” programs – and he is a supporter of the annual CJFS Friends Campaign.

“I don’t like to be bored, and I like to do things that help other people,” said Bernard, who delivers groceries each month to five low-income older adults through the CJFS Senior Grocery Initiative. ‘I can see that the food is really going a long way towards helping them; it’s a lot of food,” he said of the program, which is a partnership between CJFS, the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama and Junior League of Birmingham. “This last delivery was the first time that the Food Bank also gave us produce, which (the recipients) really liked.”

Prior to the pandemic, Bernard was also a weekly volunteer at CJFS CARES, the agency’s dementia respite program.  Bernard’s late wife, Carolyn, lived with dementia in the final years of her life, and Bernard personally knows the need for programs like CARES.

At CARES, Bernard could see how much participants enjoyed the activities. “We sang songs and that was nice, and they really liked the balloon volleyball where you try to keep the balloon up in the air. And there was always a nice lunch. To be using my time to do that made me feel good, because it helped other people,” he said. 

Bernard is a regular participant in CJFS’ monthly “Honor Our Parents” programs at the Levite Jewish Community Center. “It’s like a Friday night service, but in the daytime, and the different rabbis come to lead it. And then they have food afterwards, which is always nice,” he said.

Another CJFS program Bernard is familiar with is Professional Counseling. He was able to refer a grieving friend to CJFS for counseling after her husband died. She learned ways to cope with her grief and loneliness.

For Bernard, knowing the good CJFS does for greater Birmingham residents of every religion, income level and age in greater Birmingham, made giving to the Friends Campaign an easy decision.

To join Bernard and become a Friend to CJFS, visit cjfsbham.org/giving or call Erika at 205.879.3438