JFS Perspectives

Monday, August 20, 2018

Next-Generation Volunteers Are Making a Difference

Next-Generation Volunteers Are Making a Difference

If this summer’s JFS youth volunteers are any indication of the next generation’s leaders, the future looks bright! Nearly 40 kids, ages 10 to 18, served JFS this summer by distributing lunches and school supplies through Lunchbox Express, sorting food and supplies in the Weinberg Food Pantry, and completing meaningful mitzvah projects.

Christine Gillow, JFS Volunteer Services manager, says, “Youth volunteers are an important part of our team and they are a great resource as we recruit for summer and holiday projects.”

While we wish we could feature everyone, below are a few examples of what students did to help JFS and why.

George and Sam MacKendrickSam MacKendrick, age 15, 10th grader at Arapahoe High School

Kim MacKendrick was looking for a hands-on volunteer project she could do with her sons this summer and chose Lunchbox Express. Kim and Sam mainly volunteered together, along with Sam’s brothers, Gavin, 13, and George, 12. Sam says, “My favorite part of my Lunchbox Express experience was meeting kids from different areas in Denver and handing out lunches. The kids were very nice and appreciative.” This was Sam’s first time volunteering with JFS. He hopes to do more in the future and encourages other teens to as well. “You should definitely consider volunteering. It was really cool giving back to the community and meeting new people. It can make you feel like you are part of a bigger community.” 

Brody Davidow, age 13, 8th grader at Campus Middle School and Collin Corkhill, age 12, 7th grader at Campus Middle School 

Groups from Boys Team Charity Mile High League volunteered with Lunchbox Express and in the Weinberg Food Pantry for the past two years. This philanthropic organization for boys in 7th through 12th grade, and their parents, develops an altruistic spirit in young men as they team up with their parents on projects throughout the community.

This summer, we talked to two boys who helped sort food and school supplies:

Alison and Brody Davidow

Brody Davidow joined Boys Team Charity last summer and has volunteered with several organizations, including Clothes for Kids and Ronald McDonald House, in addition to JFS. He says of his volunteer experience, “I like sorting things and helping people less fortunate than I am.” He admits that his mom found the Boys Team opportunity and had to convince him to participate, but he is enjoying it and really likes helping people.

Collin Corkhill

When he was sorting canned goods in the food pantry, Collin Corkhill discovered it was too hard to keep reaching down into a giant box. With a little inside-the-box thinking and teamwork, he and the other boys got the job done! He says, “It feels good to help others. I like that JFS supplies food for people. By helping organize the food, I made it easier for people to access it.”

Hannah Kutnick


Hannah Kutnick, Age 11, 6th grader at McAuliffe International School  

Hannah recently organized her second annual “Backpack Bonanza,” a drive to generate donations for back-to-school backpacks and school supplies for at-risk children. She came up with this project because she “wanted to help other students who could not afford supplies.” This year she collected and donated 300 loaded backpacks to Jewish Family Service, which were distributed to children in need through the Lunchbox Express program. Hannah raised funds primarily from friends and family using social media. She raised more than $3,000 and was able to negotiate significant discounts with a number of retailers to put together 300 full backpacks.

She enjoyed assembling all of the supplies and packing them into backpacks. Hannah had the opportunity to see her work come full circle as she handed out the backpacks to children at a Lunchbox Express site in August. Hannah added that her favorite part was “delivering the backpacks because I got to see how all my hard work paid off. It was neat to see how many backpacks we were able to give to kids in need.”

Hannah's project was even featured on the news! 

Greg Cain, a high-school student, has volunteered with JFS in a variety of ways over the years, including the Bright Holidays Program, Lunchbox Express, and in the Weinberg Food Pantry. Greg says of his volunteer experience, “JFS fosters an aura of friendliness and efficiency that welcomes volunteers to contribute to their surrounding community while simultaneously enjoying that work. I appreciated being able to connect with a variety of new people, from toddlers to elders, through the Lunchbox Express program this summer.”

Thank you to all the families who donate their time to JFS! Each contribution is a valuable and meaningful part of the success of our programs.