Volunteer Spotlight January 2024: Jeff Gershone

Can you tell us about yourselves and your background?

I was born in St. Paul in 1948 and my parents moved to Minneapolis when I was 3. We lived in North Minneapolis until 1954 when we moved to St. Louis Park. I had a pretty normal childhood – average student and I graduated from St. Louis Park High School in 1966. I attended the University of Minnesota where I mostly took up space. I went to work in our family business, Cedar Box Company, where I became one of the owners in the mid-1980s. I was part owner until 2008.

During the latter period of time, I began to do some volunteering for JFCS – for the last 20 years I’ve mostly volunteered for the Hag Sameach program for both the winter holidays and Passover. I was married for 39 years; we had two sons and I now have seven grandchildren. My wife passed away from cancer in 2013. Since then, I have been partially retired with a part-time job and I try to bowl and golf as much as possible, and also play poker.

What JFCS programs have you been involved with?

I have been a regular volunteer delivering gifts for the Hag Sameach (Happy Holidays) Program since 1999. I have delivered to individuals, families, and hospitals. 

What motivated you to begin volunteering with JFCS?

My wife, and the fact that one of her best friends was running Hag Sameach at the time.

What’s your favorite part about volunteering with JFCS and how has it impacted your life? 

I have met some wonderful people while volunteering. I believe that has been the greatest benefit.

Do you have a memorable story about your JFCS volunteer experience to share?

I would say the most memorable thing about volunteering with JFCS has been seeing how much the Hag Sameach recipients appreciate receiving the gifts on delivery day.

What would you say to someone who’s thinking of volunteering with JFCS? 

You will feel fulfilled from the experience of volunteering.

Hag Sameach (Happy Holidays) program ensures joyous holiday celebrations for families and individuals in need by providing them with gifts and ritual items. Click here to learn more about the many ways to engage with Hag Sameach.

For more information about volunteering with JFCS, click here or contact Dana Shapiro, Community & Volunteer Engagement Manager at dshapiro@jfcsmpls.org.

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