One Good Deed, a program of Jewish Family & Career Services that matches older adults to caring volunteers, is celebrating its 13th year.
Originally started by Marty Halpern and his sister-in-law, Sharon Spiegelman, the program supports older adults by providing a friendly, compassionate volunteer to visit with them and provide enrichment and socialization. Spiegelman will be receiving this year’s Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta’s Mary & Max London People Power Award for her work in building the One Good Deed program.
Spiegelman, program manager, and Vivienne Kurland, program coordinator, carefully match each community volunteer with an older adult. The volunteers make a one-year commitment to visit twice a month for a minimum of two hours per visit.
They perform simple tasks that contribute to the care recipient’s sustained independence, including cooking meals with them, shopping for groceries and clothes, visiting museums or cultural events, helping pay bills, running errands and assisting with daily chores such as changing a light bulb. In undertaking these essential tasks, volunteers act as social supports, providing care recipients with companionship, encouragement and friendship. The volunteer visits also provide the family caregivers peace of mind knowing their loved one is in safe hands.
“Over the years, we found that while volunteers were providing companionship, there were many other ways they could help in and outside their home,” Spiegelman said. “We provide that, but we don’t send just any volunteer to any older adult. We consider ourselves real matchmakers, creating relationships and bonds between the two.”
Donna Adler, a volunteer matched with Bebe Forehand, feels very lucky to have met Bebe. “What I recommend about One Good Deed is that it’s good for both parties. I think I get more out of it than my recipient. It adds richness and texture to both people’s lives.”
Volunteer Carolyn Unger has been matched with Ann Barr for two years. “One Good Deed has enriched my life. It brought me to Ann, who I adore and love spending time with. She’s always thanking me and asking what she can do for me; she doesn’t understand how much she has already done for me. I no longer have a mother or grandmother. She fills that void for me,” Unger said.
One Good Deed is always looking for great volunteers and care recipients that live at home and may benefit from these services. They currently have 90 matches and are looking to build more throughout the Atlanta area.
Spiegelman said, “We have the most wonderful, caring dedicated, compassionate volunteers. I am constantly amazed by the lengths they go to to help their older adult friends.”
Kurland added, “Without our incredible volunteers, we would not be able to impact the lives of the recipients and their families the way we have, and the program would not be as strong as it is.”
For more information on becoming a One Good Deed volunteer or getting matched with a caring volunteer, visit www.jfcsatl.org/onegooddeed or call 678-978-1249.