Promise Fulfilled: Jewish Federation Endorses Gloria Max’s Legacy by Handing Out Thanksgiving Turkey

Promise Fulfilled: Jewish Federation Endorses Gloria Max’s Legacy by Handing Out Thanksgiving Turkey

Volunteers with the Jewish Federation also helped distribute bags of fruit, vegetables and sweets outside the nonprofit Jerry Dollner Food Bank on Tuesday, November 23, to wish families a “Happy Thanksgiving.”

One of the men, having put a bottle of juice in his cart – already full of food – smiled at a volunteer and said, “Thank you.”

The Jewish Federation of Volusia and Flagler Counties annually distributed turkeys and groceries to families in need to celebrate Thanksgiving, and this year was no exception. Just over two months after the death of the organization’s executive director, Gloria Max, volunteers came together to make sure her mission continued to feed the less fortunate in society.

“We promised her we would continue to do so,” said Marvin Miller, president of the Jewish Federation. “With Janice in charge and running the food bank side of it and all the volunteers you see there, he made it worth it, which made her go. They all came forward, and that was great.”

Janice Sumner is the nonprofit’s executive secretary, and said it was “cool” to be able to continue Max’s legacy. Before joining the Jewish Federation, Sumner said she had always wanted to do social work in the community. She never had the chance to do that, and Max gave her that chance.

“To be able to keep it up is just amazing,” Sumner said.

About 25 volunteers helped distribute 260 turkeys at the Jerry Doller Food Bank, located at 470 Andalus Street. People were already lining up outside the food bank long before the giveaway was due to start, and both Miller and Sumner sent out phone calls from people advising them to do so. They were late, and please hold on to the turkey so they can make it to the food bank.

It was business as usual to distribute turkeys on Thanksgiving.

Miller said, “We are a small part of the community, the Jewish Federation. It makes us feel so happy to reach so many families.”

The Jewish Federation’s Jerry Dollner Food Bank helps feed about 200 people per week in the community, regardless of race, religion or ethnicity. It’s a labor of love, Miller said, as the nonprofit absorbs all of its running costs to make sure 100% of donations go to help the community.

He said, “The public knows what we’re doing and they support us. They know we’re here and this Jewish union is supported by a large part of the Christian community, so it’s great to work with them, and that’s a rewarding part. We help each other.”

Sumner attributes the success of the Jewish Federation to the support of the Jewish community. She said every dollar received is put to good use.

“The continuation of that support has been and will continue to be invaluable,” said Sumner. “Gloria used to say we can’t do what we do without you, and that’s true.”

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