Volunteer Spotlight: Annette Marcus
JF&CS volunteers affect the lives of others in countless ways, through a number of different channels. Annette Marcus is precisely this type of volunteer - dedicated, dynamic and a natural leader. She has been very involved with JF&CS over the years, and her most recent role as a member of our synagogue affinity group for Caring Committee chairs has enabled her to help synagogues, JF&CS and community members in meaningful ways.
Caring Committees play a very important role at Atlanta's synagogues. They coordinate, among many other things, visits to the hospital to see sick congregants, Meals on Wheels programs, transportation to medical appointments for members in need, assistance with shivah arrangements and condolence cards for bereaved families. At Or Hadash, Annette has spearheaded this movement and developed an effective program that provides for so many of her fellow congregants.
Annette takes part in JF&CS's Caring Committee Affinity Group, where the Chesed (Hebrew for "kindness") chairs of each of our participating synagogues come together quarterly to share ideas about, as Annette puts it, "things that work." These meetings are an opportunity for synagogues around Atlanta to collaborate and brainstorm on how they can best meet the needs of their congregants. Annette's passion for this specific type of work stems from the support she and her own family have received, and it is the idea of anonymous giving that Annette appreciates the most about her work. A true doer of mitzvot, she is not motivated by whether she gets credit for something she does for someone else but simply by helping and contributing her time. Through her volunteer work she is able to "pitch in to whoever it is - just an act of kindness because you are part of a community."
In her leadership role as Chesed Chair at Or Hadash, Annette is able to pass these feelings on to her fellow volunteers. She finds, for instance, that people volunteering to visit the sick enjoy doing so and often take more from the experience than they expect. "We tend to stay in our own little worlds and often don't interact with others as much as we'd like. Our committee gives people the opportunity to reach out in meaningful ways."
When she is not volunteering with Or Hadash or JF&CS, you can find Annette hard at work with her catering company, Annette Marcus Catering. Her feelings about her volunteer work are wonderfully reflected in a poem she composed for one of last year's Affinity Group meetings: "We all know in our hearts that no one in our communities should ever feel alone. And we are grateful to Chesed volunteers who are there with emails, visits and by phone."