Volunteer Voices – Sheryl Jacobs & Terry Willner

Q: What has been your favorite volunteer experience? 

Sheryl: Bunches of Lunches – all kinds! Last November Har Sinai Oheb Shalom Congregation was the site of Bunches of Lunches with Friends. Terry Willner chaired this event, and I was the co-chair. We made close to 600 lunches as a community, including members of three churches – St. John’s Church of Western Run, Rebirth Tabernacle of Glory, and Greater Gethsemane Ministries. Some were distributed through JVC’s Bunches of Lunches, while others were distributed by church members through their outreach programs.

Terry: I have loved bringing Bunches of Lunches to Har Sinai-Oheb Shalom Congregation as part of our TOPAZ (Tikkun Olam Projects from A-Z) Committee. This group brings together all ages of people doing all types of projects to benefit the community. Sheryl Jacobs and I coordinated a large-scale “Bunches of Lunches with Friends” project where we invited three church groups to be a part of our day. It was an amazing, interfaith, inter-generational program with 150 volunteers making 400 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and packing 400 meals that got distributed to six different community partners.

Q: How have you been involved with JVC? 

Sheryl: Over the years I have participated in various Days of Service through JVC. Currently, I’m the co-chair of TOPAZ (Tikkun Olam Projects from A to Z) at Har Sinai Oheb Shalom Congregation, which has adopted JVC’s Bunches of Lunches as one of our monthly projects.

Terry: I served on the Board and then was asked to become Vice Chair. After that, I chaired the Board for 2 years. I’ve been a part of many Mitzvah Days and Good Deeds Days and I’ve done so many Live With Purpose Projects. And I’m a very regular casserole maker for the Casserole Challenge!

Q: How have you found volunteering to be meaningful in your life? 

Sheryl: You get back so much more than you give when you volunteer! I feel like I’ve made meaningful connections with so many people, both inside and outside of my Synagogue community at Har Sinai-Oheb Shalom Congregation.

Terry: I’ve seen and heard about the difference even one meal or one blanket or one special note or card can make in someone’s life. How can that not make an impact on you? I am so lucky to be able to have the time and ability to volunteer…and once you start, you continue to find more ways to get involved.

Q: What advice would you give to other volunteers? What would you tell someone who may be nervous to commit or is new to volunteering? 

Sheryl: Offering to help at one event is a great place to start – you may really enjoy it and want to continue!

Terry: Find a project or cause that you’re passionate about and donate just a little bit of time, at first, to doing something for that group. There are so many low-barrier ways to get involved. Volunteer with a friend…it makes the process easier and more fun!

Q: What is your favorite hobby? 

Sheryl: That’s a hard one – I like to read, knit and cook. I also enjoy swimming, pilates and the peloton. Traveling though to new places is probably my favorite hobby.

Terry: At the moment, it’s playing pickleball!

Q: What is your favorite time of day?

Sheryl: I usually like the mornings, although not too early!

Terry: I am absolutely a morning person!

Q: What do you think is the best way for individual volunteers to become volunteer group leaders?

Sheryl: Pick one volunteer project that you have enjoyed and take a step up by offering to plan some aspect of the program.

Terry: Lead with a friend. It’s much easier and fun to share responsibilities.