Brotherly Love: Volunteer Steps Up Despite Hardship
By Ukee Washington
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — In our weekly Brotherly Love stories, we meet a lot of people volunteering at food banks to help the hungry. Eyewitness News anchor Ukee Washington met one volunteer who fell on hard times and needed help herself, but still gives back every month.
The Jewish Relief Agency, or JRA, delivers boxes of food to more than three thousand families. That takes a small army of volunteers. Once a month in a Northeast Philadelphia warehouse, hundreds of people of all ages and all abilities pack thousands of boxes of food.
Amy Krulik, executive director of Jewish Relief Agency, said, “We’re packing almost 25 tons of food every month. it’s not going to get packed itself.”
Eighty percent of their clients are Jewish, so the food is kosher like pasta, canned goods, cereal. The food goes to people of any faith.
Almost every packing day, you’ll see Lisa Toll and her smile. Ukee met Lisa at her home in Pennypack Park.
“I know what it’s like to go hungry,” Lisa said. “I know what it’s like to give the last bit of food to my children. And in this great country of ours, it shouldn’t be.”
Despite chronic illness, Lisa has been volunteering for eight years. This summer she broke her foot. Until it heals, she can’t go back to work as a school bus attendant. She has other part-time jobs, but money is tight. So the woman who helps the hungry every month is now getting food herself.
“I was not a recipient when I started, but thank God they were there, because I am now,” Lisa said.
Krulik said the world needs more people like Lisa.
“If we could just clone her, it would make the work of JRA that much easier,” Krulik said.
“There’s over three thousand people we deliver to, and if we don’t do it, who will?” Lisa asked.
Lisa says sharing her story is her way of advocating for the poor and hungry.
To help, go to http://www.jewishrelief.org