As part of our efforts to keep our guests, our tenants, our staff, and our volunteers safe from the COVID-19 virus, we temporarily suspended our volunteer program in March until further notice. Our volunteers are a vital part of our mission: a powerful crew who served 32,977 meals to almost 2,000 individual guests from January 1st, 2020 until we suspended our program on March 13th.
Every week, Jerry Woods would be one of the team, serving several hundred of those meals to our guests. Jerry has been a volunteer in the St. Francis House kitchen for 20 years.
“Jerry is a beloved and dedicated volunteer of St. Francis House. His sense of humor, hospitality, and commitment have brightened guests’ dining experience for decades, as well as strengthened the community bond among volunteers and staff.” – Madeline Lessing, Volunteer Services Coordinator
Read on to learn more about our Volunteer of the Month, Jerry Woods.
When did you start volunteering in general and when did you start volunteering with St. Francis House?
I retired in 1998 after 39 enjoyable years of teaching. After an idle two years, The Boston Globe had an article about places in the city where volunteers are needed, and St. Francis House was on that list. I have had a rewarding 20 years working with people of high quality.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering with SFH?
Being part of the true spirit of giving. As an unanticipated bonus, I have made some very great friends: Bob, Jane, Steve, and Gerry to name a few.
Do you have a favorite story or moment that really influenced or shaped your work with SFH?
I couldn’t name one, there are just too many stories. The entire SFH volunteer list and staff are filled with great people (like the above mentioned), who make every shift a story.
What have you learned through volunteering with SFH?
Volunteering has taught me just how strong the spirit and mission of St Francis House is. From the administration to the social workers to the kitchen staff and everyone in between – you can see it and feel it in every guest interaction.
And finally… why do you choose to donate your time to the guests of St. Francis House?
20 years ago, it was about where in Boston volunteers were needed. I have continued to volunteer every week since then because of the spirit of St. Francis House. The only thing that has kept me away is a global pandemic – I hope that demonstrates just how rewarding my weekly drive from Plymouth to Boston is. As soon as it is safe, I hope to return to the wonderfully smooth operation again.