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Volunteer at JFCS

Volunteers are an essential part of JFCS and we could not fulfill our mission without them. Volunteers stock shelves at the JFCS Squirrel Hill Food Pantry and help clients shop in a dignified manner for food. They collect household and clothing donations, help set up apartments for newly arrived refugees, and visit with refugee families to practice English conversation. They provide rides to help seniors stay active in the community and visits to homebound seniors who live alone—and so much more

How You Can Help

Take on a Shift: The JFCS Squirrel Hill Food Pantry is open every weekday, and helps provide for over 700 families. Shift volunteers sign up to help us with this on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis. Help us unload, organize and stock food, guide clients through their pantry shop, explain food options to clients, and weigh out their groceries before they leave.

Deliveries and Pickups: Sometimes reaching out also means reaching outside of our building! Deliver pre-made bags of food to apartment buildings, pick up food gathered by various synagogues around the High Holidays, and pick up donated bread from our partner vendors to be distributed to the Pantry’s clients. To learn more, email Pantry Assistant Kate Sweeney at ksweeney@jfcspgh.org or click below to apply via Civic Champs!


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Help Job Seekers: Spend a few hours each month helping our JFCS Career Development Center clients with their job search skills. We know that your time will have a big impact on someone’s life whether you’re conducting mock interviews, reviewing resumes, or simply offering advice and encouragement.

Facilitate a Workshop: Help participants improve their computer skills and prepare them for future employment opportunities. Volunteers will teach participants how to use Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint software programs. Participants will also learn how to create a resume and cover letter.

Conduct Mock Interviews: Help JFCS Career Development Center clients prepare for their job interviews by reading resumes, offer one-on-one coaching, understand basic interview etiquette, and by going through mock interviews to get them ready.


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Help Our Community: Assist our social workers and professional counselors as they help our community through programming and workshops. You will help them make a difference in the lives of thousands of people every year.

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Make a Difference: Help the JFCS Guardianship department make a difference in our community by providing support and guidance for our community’s most vulnerable individuals with shopping trips, errands and companionship on an as needed basis.

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Pro-Bono Attorneys: Represent clients seeking immigration relief through Special Immigrant Juvenile requests, T-Visa filings, VAWA claims, U-Visa filings, and others. Some experience is helpful for these volunteers though it is not required.

Clinic Days: Assist and support clients completing immigration forms related to naturalization exams, Green Card renewals/replacements, work authorizations, and other important documents. Training is provided for these projects and no prior experience is required, The Clinic Days typically require a time commitment of three to four hours over one to two days

Support Immigrants: Help immigrants by reviewing and completing forms, explaining the process and requirements, providing information about resources, reviewing documents and supporting clients throughout the process.

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Home Set-ups: Set up refugee clients’ permanent housing with daily essentials, such as having furniture set up and kitchen needs by providing them with a welcoming space to live in.

Hotel Set-ups: Set up hotel rooms for newly arrived refugees – unpacking and organizing essential items from boxes and putting them in the appropriate places. Volunteers will also help in other ways as needed.

Hot Meal Delivery: Make a newly arrived refugee who misses home feel more welcome by picking up a culturally appropriate hot meal and bring it to their temporary housing.

Refugee Social Integration: Help and mentor vulnerable refugees, particularly those with medical or mental health issues, LGBTI+ refugees, single parent households, and elderly refugees without family support.

Bridge Builders: Mentor and enrich the lives of youth, immigrants and refugees as a part of the after-school program! It is designed to ease the adjustment period for new arrivals by helping them with literacy building activities, practice with conversational English, mentoring, homework assistance, physical activities, and community service.

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Transport Seniors: With AgeWell Rides, transport seniors who cannot drive to medical appointments, grocery stores, volunteer and social events.

Spend Time With Seniors: With AgeWell Visits, visit with seniors aged 65 and over, you’ll get to know many seniors who have lost dear friends or family members due to illness or death. You’ll also be able to help them stay connected with their communities through activities like playing cards or sharing stories.

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Why Our Volunteers Love Volunteering at JFCS

Volunteering at JFCS is a great way to meet new people, help others, and make a difference in your community.

We asked our volunteers what they love about volunteering with us, and here’s what they had to say.

Our Volunteer Coordinators

Our volunteer coordinators at JFCS are here to help!

If you’re looking for a way to give back and connect with your community, we can help. We match volunteers with opportunities that fit their interests and skills, so you can spend your time making a difference in the lives of others.

Juwairiyah Abdul-Halim

Volunteer Coordinator - Refugee and Immigrant Services

Kate Sweeney

Program Assistant - JFCS Squirrel Hill Food Pantry

John Cavicchio

Family Law/ProBono Coordinator

Cristy Lagnese

Community Engagement Coordinator

Aimee Haldeman

Older Adult Care Coordinator

Shawnte Knox

Employer Relations Specialist

Group Volunteering

Want to give your employees a chance to bond, while helping to make the world a better place? JFCS can help!

Our programs are designed for companies and organizations of all sizes. They’re also great for families, friends and individuals who want to get involved.

If you’re looking for a meaningful team-building volunteer opportunity for your company or organization, working with JFCS is a great fit! We can find the right volunteer opportunity for you based on your goals, interests and schedule.

For more information about Group Volunteering, contact Cristy Lagnese – clagnese@jfcspgh.org

Resources for Existing Volunteers

If you’re already a volunteer with JFCS, we want to make sure you have everything you need to be successful with our volunteer platform, Civic Champs.
Here are some of our favorite resources:

JFCS has teamed up with Civic Champs as our volunteer management and engagement platform. To sign up for Civic Champs, please click here to submit your application.

Civic Champs created a short video tutorial for you on how to login and complete the questionnaire:
please click here to watch.

After you complete and submit your questionnaire, you are now ready to download the Civic Champs app. There is a QR code at the end of the form. Use your camera on your phone to scan the QR code. This will allow you to download the Civic Champs app.

You can also watch the video below for further details in downloading the app:
please click here to watch.