IN THE NEWS: Homebound 99 Year-Old Receives Special Rosh Hashanah Meal from JFS

Randall P. Lieberman, Staff Writer

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Sep 22, 2014

When Norma Emrick, of Boca Raton, retired as a registered nurse about two years ago she knew she wanted to keep active doing some sort of volunteer work.

Emrick saw an announcement in the newspaper looking for volunteers for the Boca Raton-based Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services (JFS) of South Palm Beach County.

Emrick knew right away this volunteer job working in the agency's Jacobson Family Food Pantry and also making food deliveries to homebound seniors would be a perfect fit for her.

Emrick said: "As a nurse, you have a lot of patience (pun intended). I've had a good life, so I knew I wanted to give something back. This seemed like a good fit."

Her weekly routine now includes making six to eight food deliveries in Century Village in west Boca Raton each Thursday; volunteering to bag food at the Jacobson Family Food Pantry in east Delray Beach once a week; and also delivering eight or nine meals as a JFS "Meals on Wheels" driver every Friday.

Stated Danielle Hartman, JFS president and CEO: "Norma Emrick has been a valued JFS volunteer over the last year or so. It is through the generosity of Norma and other volunteers that enables JFS to deliver food five days a week — translating into more than 80,000 pounds of food distributed annually."

Added Emrick: "Our recipients are so glad to get this food so they can eat a better diet. It makes their lives so much easier as it's tough for them to go out and go shopping."

Last week, in preparation for the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah — the Jewish New Year — JFS provided special holiday food and household supplies to the homebound seniors in Boca Raton and Delray Beach that the agency serves.

The food and household items provided in the Rosh Hashanah deliveries organized by JFS included: two frozen meals provided by JARC (Jewish Association for Residential Care); paper towels, napkins and reusable bags donated by Waste Management of Palm Beach; and toiletries prepared by Jewish teen athletes during this summer's JCC Maccabi Games.

Hartman said: "Making these special Rosh Hashanah food deliveries is our way of sweetening the holiday for our seniors and making sure they continue to receive nutritious food with a smile."

Added Emrick: "For many of the people on my route, they might not have any family to spend the holidays with. This special food delivery makes them feel part of a family. It's a special delivery wishing them a sweet year."

Hartman said in addition to the food deliveries, JFS provides — in conjunction with Temple Beth El of Boca Raton — a link to High Holy Day Services via streaming video for those seniors that have computer access.

One of the regulars on Emrick's Century Village route is Jerry, a World War II veteran who is 99 years old (he will turn 100 on Jan. 24, 2015). For more than a decade, Jerry has received food deliveries from JFS' Jacobson Family Food Pantry through volunteers such as Emrick.

Last Thursday, Sept. 18, Emrick brought Jerry the special JFS Rosh Hashanah items such as two frozen dinners, a round challah, honey cake and honey along with his regular weekly food delivery. Jerry's regular weekly food delivery includes items such as peanut butter, jelly, pasta, pasta sauce, beans, rice, canned soup, fruit and vegetables, along with fresh produce such as lettuce, potatoes, carrots, onions and tomatoes.

Jerry is very grateful for the food deliveries as well as Emrick's attention.

"I'm very friendly with Norma," Jerry said. "It's good to see her every week."

Added Emrick: "I always check on Jerry each week and ask him how he is doing. He is in great shape for someone who is 99. I think this food we provide him really helps him stay healthy."

For more information about services offered by JFS, including its food pantry and food deliveries for homebound seniors, visit http://www.ralesjfs.org, or call 561-852-3333.

Copyright © 2014, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services (JFS) provides help, hope and humanity through a comprehensive range of programs and services which support people of all ages and beliefs. With locations in Boca Raton and Delray Beach, JFS programs and services include food and financial assistance, senior services, career & employment services, counseling and mental health services and many volunteer opportunities. Funding is provided by private and corporate support, grants, special events and individuals who reach thousands in need each year. For more information about JFS call 561-852-3333. Learn more at www.ralesjfs.org.

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