Volunteer couple’s weekly involvement turns into a shared experience

Lunch at the Cummings Centre has turned into a regular Wednesday ‘date’ for volunteers Allan Zeidel and his wife Koral. Allan, who recently retired as an optometrist, volunteers in the Adapted Exercise Clinic. His wife of 54 years, volunteers at Café Soleil, also located at the Centre. Although they volunteer in separate areas, both look forward to their weekly involvement helping others as fulfilling and rewarding and a time to give back to the community. After their volunteering ends for the day, they are then eager to share their morning experience over lunch. “We come in with a smile and we leave with a smile,” added Koral. “We also bring a smile to everyone we are in contact with.” To learn about volunteering at the Cummings Centre, click here.

– Allan Zeidel and his wife Koral, Cummings Centre Volunteers

Couple delivering meals to those who need it most.

Husband and wife duo, Barbara and Ellis Burrows, are part of the dedicated Cummings Centre volunteer corps that deliver kosher meals-on-wheels to clients. Having recently moved back to Montreal after living in Ontario for over 50 years, the couple decided to get involved through volunteering upon recommendation by Barbara’s sister Suzanne Belson, a highly engaged volunteer at the Centre. “Recently retired and looking for a way to give back to the community, the Cummings Centre was the natural place to volunteer. “I was astounded by the number and variety of volunteer opportunities”, remarks Barbara. “We like to do things together, I’m a born navigator and Ellis, the driver and deliverer, is the face of the operation. It’s a natural fit, working together as a team.” “I enjoy it because I know I’m serving a need that helps people. Meals on Wheels is a wonderful program and touches clients in a substantive and meaningful way!”, remarks Ellis.

– Barbara and Ellis, MOW Volunteers

This service is funded in part by George and Mackie Balcan Foundation for ‘Feeding the Soul’ and Mazon Canada.

Cummings Centre holds a treasure chest of activities and opportunities and has become a true community for me. I began my involvement taking a range of courses from art to theatre, politics, meditation and many more feeling so welcomed by the other members and dedicated staff.  There is truly something for everyone with so many offerings that you need not go further to find your place.  As a retired teacher, I feel that I am earning my PhD at Cummings!

A proud member of this wonderful community, I felt it was time to give back and turn my efforts towards volunteering at the Shalom Circle, Drop-In Centre, on the Enrichment Committee and the Aging Well Conference.  Particularly during this difficult Pandemic period as I began making care calls to members, I learned to appreciate more about my own life hearing about the challenges others face. I feel a deep connection knowing I am helping not only myself but many others from feeling isolated. My involvement at Cummings has given my life so much meaning

– Gundie Robertson, Volunteer

As past Chair of the Cummings Building Committee, Valerie is always looking towards the future. One of the Centre’s younger volunteers, at 30 years old, she feels she is able to bring a fresh perspective to her committee work. “I am grateful to have been given a voice on this committee using my work expertise to give back,” says Valerie. “I hope I can lead by example bringing younger volunteers into the conversation.”

The Pandemic has not slowed down her dedication. “Zoom is fantastic!”, says Valerie. “As I am also working from home, I feel I can find even more time to devote to my work at Cummings.”   She has been volunteering in the Jewish Community since the age of 15 giving her time to several Federation agencies. “All my experiences have been so meaningful opening so many doors to lend a hand within the community,” says Valerie. She has also dedicated much of her volunteer time to building bridges between the Ashkenazi and Sephardi communities. “I feel so wealthy in my volunteer accomplishments knowing that my work at Cummings will have a significant impact for our aging population moving forward.”

– Valerie Benbaruk, Volunteer

Corporate volunteerism, making a positive difference in the lives of others.
Each year Rogers Communications encourages its employees to volunteer their time as a way of giving back to the community. In the midst of the pandemic, Mark Calla, a team manager at Rogers, came across the Cummings Centre online and knew right away that this was where he wanted his team to devote their volunteer hours.

Calla and his colleagues have been making care calls weekly to isolated seniors. “The seniors receiving the calls are so appreciative,” said Calla.  “By establishing that connection, especially during this time of isolation, it is very heartwarming knowing that we are making their day that much better.”

The Rogers team, who work in technical support, have also used their expertise in getting seniors to overcome any technical issues they may have getting connected technologically during these challenging times. In addition, Mark and two of his staff gave presentations on their life and career choices.

– Mark Calla, Corporate Volunteer

“We are et war, fighting for our health, our life, our future. We have our heroes, the doctors, nurses, orderlies. They are working very hard to win this war.

On November 11, 1918 the WWI was over and since then we celebrate our veterans.
Like any other year in the Cummings Center in the 11th month, 11th day, 11th hour we are thinking of our veterans, and the fighting soldiers all over the world. The country called them to put on the uniform and fight for us, to shorten the war, to win the war, to liberate the concentration camps, save lives. With bravery they were fighting, risking theirs, their freedom, their health and their life.

Many of them resting in fields far away, many of them came back injured, crippled physically and mentally. Still, they never regret to become our heroes. Because of them we are blessed with prosperity and freedom. Our strong duty to never forget them and honour them and take care of them. Our generation young and old will honour them and celebrate them each and every year on November 11th at 11am. They fought for us and they died for us.

Forever we will remember our hero veterans.”

– Leslie Vertes Z”l, Cummings Centre Volunteer

As part of a new Inter-generational initiative with Herzliah High School, 9 students volunteer are calling 18 seniors on a weekly basis providing seniors with much needed telephone conversation. Joshua Hazan Mea, one of these care callers has formed strong bonds with several seniors and urges his fellow students to do the same.

“My contribution making care calls to Cummings Centre volunteers who are isolated has been a personally enriching experience. In such times of uncertainty and unease, I am calmed by their faith, wiseness and intelligence. I take great pride in the volunteer work that I do – for many, self-isolation can be an extremely difficult and lonely time. I feel greatly comforted knowing that I am improving the lives of individuals in my community. The bonds I have formed through this initiative are unbreakable and transcend the barriers of physical interaction. It is my sincere hope others follow suit by participating in this project and making the difference I know they are capable of achieving.”

– Joshua Hazan Mea, Volunteer

As a volunteer for the last 9 years in the Cummings Center cafeteria I would like to express my sincere thanks to the entire staff for the phone calls and concern to all of us in these trying times.  This being the National Volunteer Week I would like to say that I miss my few days a week serving behind the counter, greeting the patrons and the familiar faces, engaging with them in a little friendly conversation.

Volunteering for me is most important in lifting my morale knowing that  I am making a contribution to the community.  This gives me a sense of worth and satisfaction, this is what keeps me happy and energetic in my daily existence.  For this I am forever thankful to  the Cummings Center.

I am hoping and aiming for my 97th birthday soon, if I am worthy, so I hope to keep my pleasant job at the Cummings Center for a long while longer.

Thank you and best wishes to everyone, stay well and safe.

– Helen Scharf, Volunteer

Offering assistance, helping someone down the steps, serving a meal with a smile… the Cummings Centre provides so many opportunities to show acts kindness everyday. “I can see that the smallest gestures have a huge effect on so many of the Centre’s participants. This keeps me coming back”.

– Ruth Lezmy, Volunteer

I have been volunteering at the Cummings Centre for many years. I find a sense of empowerment that every single act of kindness does affect someone else’s life, bringing comfort, joy and meaning.

– Yaffa Cohen

Developing personal relationships with members and other volunteers through my volunteering is what keeps me coming back. Cummings is such an upbeat place to be and everyone walks out with a smile.

– Shelley Schwartz

By volunteering and giving of oneself, sharing your time and expertise, you can discover how it enriches your life and the lives of others! Volunteering with us at the Cummings provides you with the opportunity to make a difference.

– Tom Strasser

We are continually expanding our programming initiatives and course offerings in the West Island.  Let us know what you want to learn and do and help set the course for Cummings West.

– Brissa Bercovits, Volunteer Chair at Cummings West

I love helping in any way I can and carrying on my family’s long history of giving back.  I feel energized and I know I am making a difference in the lives of so many people.

Julie Morneau

Volunteering is all about giving back.  I cannot express the joy I have experienced by helping others at the Centre.  You really do get back more than you give and make new friends in the process!

John Carney

Volunteering at Cummings honors the memory of my late mother who was a volunteer for over 25 years.  I am passionate about lending financial support to the Centre so that we can continue to enrich the lives of so many.

– Rhona Rosenblatt

Delivering Meals-on-Wheels has become a family tradition as my father was on the team. We are not only delivering hearty meals to many people who just can’t get out, but we provide much needed social contact and they appreciate our efforts so much.

– Marcy Bruck