Volunteers help JFCS prepare for new home

By Erica Solomon • Development & Community Engagement Coordinator


Ask anyone from a college freshman to their empty-nester parents and they’ll tell you the same thing: moving is a pain. Whether they pay a moving company, or entice a group of friends with pizza, everyone embarking on a move to a new house, apartment, or dorm room needs to enlist some help to make it happen. So you can imagine that an agency with 120 staff members and 107 years of history would need a whole lot of helping hands to successfully move to a new home!


JFCS’ Feb. 26 move to our new building in Golden Valley is fast approaching, and staff have been diligently de-cluttering for months. As we enter the final stages of move preparation, a number of volunteers have stepped forward to provide crucial support and apply their skills in a variety of ways.


For staff, getting ready to move takes a lot more than just the obvious stage of packing up a cubicle. After so much time settled in our Minnetonka office, many had an overwhelming amount of paper files and storage (and not to mention stress!) to clear out before packing could even begin. Fortunately, Cindy Amberger, whose business is in helping people prepare for moving to new homes, volunteered to oversee many aspects of the JFCS move. From speaking at an all-staff lunch and learn, to offering personal and team consultations, and more, Cindy has worked tirelessly to help staff get through the “de-junking” phase of the move and tackle each new round of preparations (next up: cubicle packing!) as they come.


Jory Herman has years of experience appraising and finding new homes for “previously loved” items. This made him a perfect fit to organize and donate items left in the “JFCS Exchange,” a space set up for staff to leave unwanted items cleared from their workspaces that might be of use to somebody else. While to the untrained eye this area may have looked like a lot of junk, Jory used his skill to find new homes for the vast majority of items. Paper and other craft and office supplies were donated to the Bloomington Public Schools’ Companies to Classrooms effort; old electronics were recycled through Tech Dump; and a variety of books, toys, glassware, and more were brought to Goodwill. Many toys found homes with the families of JFCS clients as well.


The JFCS Hag Sameach program also needed some special volunteer support –occupying a whole basement storage suite with hundreds of gifts and ritual items donated throughout the year. When the time came to sort through the wall of donated books to determine what should be moved to the new space for future gift-giving and what should be donated elsewhere, Hag Sameach Coordinator Mindy Teele knew she needed a volunteer with special knowledge and a passion for books. Sarah Teske, former NextGen Board member, MELSA (Metro Public Libraries) Senior Program Associate, and overall bibliophile, proved to be the perfect volunteer to take on this task. “To be able to help JFCS would be more of a gift to me more than anything else,” said Sarah when asked to lend her skills to the project.


The list of volunteers applying their talents to help prepare for the move goes on. It includes a college student (and JFCS scholarship recipient) giving back over winter break by scanning archived files, a retired IT professional assisting with tech set-up in the new space, and the many regular volunteers (Hag Sameach co-chairs, Board committees, and more), without whom this move wouldn’t be possible. We can’t wait to continue engaging volunteers, serving our community and exploring new opportunities in our brand new permanent home!


Do you have a unique skill that you’d like to share with JFCS? Contact Erica Solomon, Development & Community Engagement Coordinator, at 952-417-2124 or esolomon@jfcsmpls.org to learn more about volunteer opportunities.