Get Involved,
Make a Difference

Volunteers are, and have always been, the heart of Jewish Family Service. Volunteers began the work of JFS in 1892, and it is volunteers who continue helping individuals and families in our community today. Volunteers are instrumental in fulfilling our mission to help people achieve well-being, health and stability.

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Get Ready to Be a Volunteer

To be a JFS volunteer we ask you to do the following:

Contact us at volunteer@jfsseattle.org or (206) 861-3155.

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More Ways to Get Involved

  • Bulk Food Bagging

    Bag bulk dry foods that will be used in the Food Bank.

    Shifts:

    Every other first Monday of the month, six times a year, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.

  • Citizenship Classroom Assistance

    Assist citizenship teachers in tutoring a small class of refugee and immigrant students at the JFS Eastside Office. Assistants help promote independent learning and functioning in American society, while preparing students to pass the U.S. citizenship test.           

    Hours and Commitment:

    • Two hours per week.
    • Three-month minimum commitment. 

     

    Responsibilities:

    • Work with students individually or in small groups on citizenship lessons as guided by the teacher.
    • Document volunteer hours. 

     

    Requirements:

    • Assist on a consistent basis.
    • Reliable, non-judgmental and resourceful.
    • Sympathetic listener and self-directive.
    • Amenable to JFS supervision while in the classroom.           

     

    Recommended:

    Understanding and interest of U.S. history and politics.

  • Coat Collection

    Collect new warm, waterproof or water-resistant, winter coats. We need children’s, women’s and men’s. Small and medium are the most needed sizes, but we can use a few large, too.

  • ESL Classroom Assistance

    Assist ESL teachers in tutoring a small class of refugee and immigrant students at the JFS Eastside Office.           

    Hours and Commitment:

    • Two hours per week.
    • Three-month minimum commitment. 

     

    Responsibilities:

    • Work with students individually or in small groups on English lessons as guided by the ESL teacher.
    • Document volunteer hours.

     

     Requirements:

    • Age 18 or older.
    • Assist on a consistent basis.
    • Reliable, non-judgmental and resourceful.
    • Sympathetic listener and self-directive.
    • Show stability in personal life and work history.
    • Amenable to JFS supervision while in the classroom.
  • ESL Tutoring

    Tutor refugees in their home or an agreed upon public space, concentrating on conversational and survival English.           

    Hours and Commitment:

    • One to two hours weekly.
    • Sixth-month minimum commitment. 

     

    Responsibilities:

    • Document tutoring hours.
    • Connect monthly with the ESL program coordinator by phone or email.
    • Refer all non-ESL related assistance to a Resettlement Caseworker.
    • Call JFS promptly if there is any problem or situation with students. 

     

    Requirements:

    • Age 18 or older.
    • Tutor on a consistent basis.
    • Travel to meet clients where they are, including the Eastside and South King County.
    • Reliable, non-judgmental and resourceful.
    • Sympathetic listener and self-directive.
  • Event Support

    Assist with setting up or day-of tasks for events.

    Setup Assistance
    Typically, on Fridays before an event, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

    Day-Of Assistance
    Duties include event support, leading various stations, assisting staff, general set-up and clean up. Some heavy lifting may be involved.

  • Food Bank Assistance

    Help individuals and families as they visit the Food Bank during open hours. The Food Bank operates a consumer-choice model where people choose products according to their personal needs and preferences. Our goal is to provide people the food and toiletries they need with the dignity they deserve.

    Shifts:

    Typically, one day a week during Food Bank hours.

    • Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m. – noon
    • First Wednesdays of the month, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
    • Thursdays, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
    • Fridays, 10:00 a.m. – noon.

     

     Responsibilities:

    • Distribute food and toiletries as selected by clients who are shopping.
    • Restock items as needed.
    • Clean up after shopping is complete.

     

    Requirements:

    Age 18 or older.

     

    Recommended:

    • Able to lift 25 pounds.
    • Russian or Mandarin speaking skills helpful, but not required.
  • Food Bank Home Delivery

    Volunteers will prepare, load and deliver needed items to homebound individuals and families on a designated route. A personal vehicle is required for this position.

    This is a great opportunity for families!

     

    Shifts:

    • Monday to Friday, except during open Food Bank hours:
      • Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m. – noon
      • Thursdays, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
      • Fridays, 10:00 a.m. – noon.
    • Second and fourth Sundays of each month.

     

    Responsibilities:

    • Pick up deliveries in the Polack Food Bank at the Capitol Hill Campus.
    • Give the individual/family or their JFS caseworker at least two days’ notice before a delivery.
    • Deliver at your convenience, except during Jewish holidays.
    • Complete necessary paperwork.
    • Follow contractual agreement and outlined procedures. 

     

    Requirements:

    • Age 18 or older, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.
    • Current Washington State driver’s license and vehicle insurance.
    • Able to lift 25 pounds.
    • Set and politely convey appropriate boundaries.
  • Food Bank Home Delivery Assistance

    Help Food Bank staff prepare, load and deliver needed items to homebound individuals and families. JFS staff will drive the agency’s van. Volunteers are not required to drive for this position.

    Shifts:

    • Monday morning.
    • Monday afternoon.
    • Second Sunday of every month. 

     

    Responsibilities:

    • Prepare bags for home delivery with Food Bank staff.
    • Load items into JFS van.
    • Travel with Food Bank staff to deliver food.

     

    Requirements:

    • Age 18 or older.
    • Able to lift 25 pounds.
    • Maintain a safe and clean environment.
  • Food Bank Preparation

    Help staff prepare the Food Bank. Weekly volunteers are needed for consistent shifts. Volunteers are also needed for special projects and on-call. 

    Shifts:

    • Two-hour shifts at least once a week. Exact time depends upon need.
    • Weekdays during select business hours.
    • Fourth Sundays of the month.

     

    Responsibilities can include:

    • Load and unload the JFS van.
    • Sort donations.
    • Bag bulk food products.
    • Prepare home delivery bags.
    • Other essential operations of the Food Bank. 

     

    Requirements:

    • Age 18 or older.
    • Maintain a safe and clean environment. 

     

    Recommended:

    Able to lift 25 pounds.

  • Food Drive & Food Sort

    Help support the Polack Food Bank during our annual Community-Wide Food Drive, which officially begins with announcements at Rosh Hashanah and culminates at the Food Sort.

    The Food Sort is a one-day event at the end of our Community-Wide Food Drive. Hundreds of volunteers come to our donated warehouse space to help sort and organize Food Drive donations.

    Learn more about what food and toiletry donations the Polack Food Bank needs. Donation can be made year-round.

  • Friendly Visitor

    Build caring, meaningful relationships with older adults or people with disabilities. Volunteers are thoughtfully paired with an individual to help provide companionship and community connection, reducing social isolation and the negative mental health outcomes that can come with it.

    Hours and Commitment:

    • One to two hours for each visit.
    • Minimum of two visits a month.
    • Minimum six-month commitment.

     

    Responsibilities:

    • Visit clients in their homes at a regularly appointed time.
    • Actively listen, engage and chat with individuals.
    • Other potential duties depend on individual needs and can include running errands, shopping, cooking, transportation, gardening, attending community events and assistance with various chores.
    • Notify the individual in advance of any change in regular visit times.
    • Identify and inform JFS staff of any needs the individual has. 

     

    Requirements:

    • Age 18 or older.
    • Participate in a two-hour training.
    • Interest in working with older adults or individuals with disabilities.
    • Reliable, patient and able to engage in active listening.
    • Able to set and politely convey appropriate boundaries.
    • Provide status updates on the individual.
    • Send volunteer hours to JFS staff monthly. 

     

    Recommended:

    Understanding of Jewish culture recommended but not required.

  • Front Desk Assistance

    Provide reception and general administrative support for the JFS Eastside Office where Refugee & Immigrant Services are offered.           

    Hours and Commitment:

    • One three-hour shift per week.
    • Three-month minimum commitment. 

     

    Responsibilities:

    • Manage the reception area, including providing information and referrals by phone, monitoring the waiting area and notifying staff of client arrival according to established procedures.
    • Ensure a reasonable level of quiet and confidentiality in the reception area.
    • Provide clerical and general office support, including preparing case files based on program requirements and guidelines. Support case openings and closings. Prepare case files for archiving. Label and file documents, along with general office work.
    • Manage all incoming and outgoing mail, including scheduling couriers and pickups with UPS or FedEx.
    • Support fee-based programs by setting appointments and handling payment transactions. Maintain transaction logs and file receipts.
    • Interpret for clients as needed according to language skills. 

     

    Requirements:

    • Volunteer on a consistent basis.
    • Strong verbal and written communication skills.
    • Familiar with Microsoft Office suite.
    • Discretion and confidentiality with sensitive client data.
    • Exceptional customer service skills.
    • Able to work with diverse groups.

     

    Recommended:

    Secondary language skills helpful, but not required.

  • General Office Assistance

    Various clerical tasks, filing, shredding, data entry and other tasks as needed.

  • Glove & Sock Collection

    Warm gloves and socks are in high demand during the cold and rainy season in Seattle. Help keep community members warm with these small, but meaningful items. Adult sizes needed.

  • Grocery Bag Collection

    The Polack Food Bank needs paper grocery bags with two sturdy handles. People visiting the Food Bank use these bags to carry their items home, and JFS staff use them to deliver food to homebound individuals.

  • Professional Mentor for Refugees

    Mentors help support and coach highly-skilled individuals in reestablishing their careers in the U.S. Individuals in the mentorship program have advanced degrees and years of experience in a professional field. The benefits of a one-on-one mentor relationship are twofold — access to an industry expert and expansion of professional networks.

    We are often looking for professionals from, but not limited to, the following careers:

    • Law
    • Engineering
    • Computer Science / Information Technology (I.T.)
    • Business Management

     

    Hours and Commitment

    • Three hours per month minimum. Exact time commitment will vary from month to month based on individual needs.
    • Six-month minimum commitment.
    • Location will vary depending on your and the mentee’s availability.

     

    Responsibilities

    • Coach individuals on how to best expand their professional networks, including suggesting organizations and events, as well as making relevant connections within your own network.
    • Prepare an individual on the specifics of your field in the U.S., different possible career paths within the industry and skills that will help make them more competitive.
    • Support and guide an individual through the career process and expand their opportunities. Many highly skilled refugees are overwhelmed by both the options and the obstacles that stand between them and reestablishing their career.
    •  Check in monthly with the Employment Case Manager to keep them updated on the progress of your mentorship.

     

    Requirements

    • Interest in working with refugees and asylees.
    • Patience, follow-through and tenacity.
    • Ability to mentor on a consistent basis.
    • Be culturally sensitive, respectful to people and supportive of the JFS mission.

     

    Learn more about Refugee & Immigrant Services.

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