My passion for helping started in 2000 when I was diagnosed with leukemia and was told I had four or five years to live. I decided I would make every day count because each day I had was a gift. It has been 13 years now and I am doing very well.

wendy_smaller

On July 28, 2013 my first grandchild, Ryden was born. I never thought I would live to see a grandchild. I felt like I had won the lottery of life. For months, I had been buying baby clothes in anticipation of his arrival. Then I thought about all the new little babies who would not enter the world with new clothes and toys and decided to help them out during the Jewish New Year. My husband and I have a luncheon each year for our New Year with a theme. It all came together when I decided that the theme was New Year, New Grandson. By asking my friends to bring new items of clothing or toys or diapers, they would not feel funny not bringing a hostess gift because they were bringing just what we wanted. Everyone was so generous and really liked the idea. How nice that they did a mitzvah (good deed) right at the start of the year. A perfect way to start.

This was not the first time I have volunteered with Interfaith Works. Through my work as the Youth Director at Kehilat Shalom and at the Jewish Community Center day camp, I became involved with helping teens to participate in programs where they could earn Student Service Learning hours. I have had the teens cook meals for Wilkins Avenue Women’s Assessment Center Building B as well as Carroll House Men’s Shelter. They have also volunteered at the Interfaith Clothing Center. When my son got married, we had blankets at his wedding for the guests to wrap themselves up in since the ceremony was outside. Since the blankets were only used for the ceremony (a total of 45 minutes) they were donated to Wilkins Avenue Building B. When I began teaching at Shaare Torah as well as at Kehilat Shalom, I started having the younger and older children become more involved with Interfaith Works by having Nina Golding talk to the children. We have provided baked goods and gift certificates for birthday parties at Wilkins Avenue Building B for the last two years and will do so again this May. We also package reusable bags with toiletries for the women at Wilkins Avenue Building B. This year, I am going to be including costume jewelry with the toiletries.