Last Thursday, Shmuel Corcos, a volunteer at JF&CS’s Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry (SHCFP), was one of several Volunteers of the Year selected by their respective agencies, organizations and synagogues to be publically honored for their service at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s annual meeting.
Shmuel volunteers once a week at SHCFP, where he has the grueling task of picking up several hundred pounds of cardboard, filling his pick-up truck and transporting the cardboard to Construction Junction in the East End to be recycled. Shmuel gives more than six hours of volunteer time per month, along with utilizing his own truck and sweat equity for loading and unloading the several hundreds of pounds of cardboard
We would be buried beneath cardboard without him,” said Kathy Poth, SHCFP coordinator. “We go through so much on a weekly basis that our dumpster can’t fit it all. Our staff has small cars, so it would be a huge burden on us to take it in several trips from Squirrel Hill to the East End. We simply can’t do what he does.”
Shmuel is a registered psychiatric nurse and farmer who owns an urban organic farm specializing in organic waste management, and began volunteering with SHCFP in 2014. Shmuel says he is grateful for the relationships with staff members, volunteers and clients he’s built through his volunteerism at the Pantry.
“When I volunteer, even though there are benefits to me, that’s not why I’m doing it, that’s secondary. There is a Jewish philosophy that when you’re doing something charitable or kind, you don’t do it for the sake of benefit or gain, you just do it because that’s what you’re supposed to do as Jew,” Shmuel said. “But when you give charity, it does benefit you inadvertently; it completes you as a person
The 55-year-old father of four and grandfather of seven lives in Squirrel Hill and is an alumnus of Hillel Academy. He says his family and grandchildren are also strongly involved in Jewish life and share his passion for giving back to the community.
“Shmuel truly deserves to be recognized for his service to SHCFP,” said Matthew Bolton, director of SHCFP. “His volunteer support is not only great for reducing our carbon footprint, but it’s great for our bottom line–we save hundreds of dollars per month that would otherwise be used to find alternative ways to handle the cardboard. We’re able to put use those funds to use to help more individuals and families in need in our community.”
In all of our departments and programs at JF&CS, volunteers and interns are vital to our work and mission, whether they are generously giving their time on a regular basis or providing a particular skill to our agency when needed. We are so thankful to our many volunteers like Shmuel, whose help makes it possible to for our agency to change the lives of so many in our communities–and thankful to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh for recognizing these worthy individuals and supporting our work in so many ways
To volunteer at JF&CS or SHCFP, to donate goods or to find more ways you can help support JF&CS’s programs, please email firstname.lastname@example.org (subject line: Volunteer) or call 412-422-7200.