LONGMEADOW, Mass. – On Christmas Day, December 25, 20 community volunteers continued the annual tradition of supporting residents and staff of the Julian J. Leavitt Family Jewish Nursing Home, Sosin Center for Rehabilitation, and Ruth’s House Assisted Living Residence in Longmeadow for “Honorable Menschen Day.”
Cheryl Gumlaw, Director of Life Enrichment at the Leavitt Family Jewish Home, and volunteer coordinator for JGS, explained “Honorable Menschen Day,” brings together those willing to provide assistance in non-clinical and personal care roles to give residents some extra activity during the day, and support to staff on the holiday. “Mensch” is a Yiddish word that describes a person of good moral character who does good deeds. That is why we call it “Honorable Menschen Day,” in tribute to our caring and dedicated volunteers.”
Volunteers greeted visitors, engaged in “friendly visits” with residents, and spread good holiday cheer. Many led activities throughout the day, including bingo and word trivia; staffed the gift shop and coffee shop; and others supported housekeeping staff by folding laundry. The volunteers – both Jewish and non-Jewish individuals — included community members, board members, staff members, and families.
In addition to benefiting the residents across the JGS Lifecare campus, the volunteers also lightened the load of the staff who were working on the holiday, allowing them to spend more time with their loved ones.
“We rely on our volunteers every day,” said Gumlaw. “They staff our coffee and gifts shops, run our bingo games and other activities, provide entertainment and companionship. They deliver mail and help with laundry. We couldn’t care for our residents as well as we do without the dedication and support of our volunteers.”
Gumlaw added that more volunteers are needed. “As an organization, we constantly seek individuals and groups to provide friendship and enjoyment to our residents, and add meaningful programs and services that ease the challenges of aging.”