Volunteer Spotlight – May 2021: Stuart Samsky
Stuart Samsky (left), pictured with his friend, Andy Stillman, who recruited him to volunteer for JFCS’ newest food security project.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am 65 years old and have been married to my wonderful wife, Kathy, for 38 years. I grew up in St. Louis Park and graduated from St. Louis Park High School in 1974. I taught 4th and 5th grade for 33 years for the Rosemount Eagan Apple Valley Independent School District, and recently retired seven years ago. I enjoy fishing, biking, and traveling. We have lived in the Eagan area since 1991.
What’s your current volunteer role at JFCS?
My wife has volunteered for many years for Mobile Loaves and I’ve seen firsthand how this helps the community, and is very rewarding for the volunteers. This inspired me to look for something that would help me give back to the community. (JFCS Board Member) Andy Stillman and the Stillman Foundation had recently purchased 880 cases of food to be distributed through JFCS, and he asked if I was willing to deliver some cases. Here was my golden opportunity to give back to the community, and help to assist Andy and JFCS. With the help of JFCS Food Security Program Coordinator Clare Gravon, we have delivered almost 1,800 cases to food shelves in the community this past winter and spring.
What motivated you to volunteer with JFCS?
I got involved with JFCS because of my lifelong friend, Andy Stillman. We’ve known each other since our Bar Mitzvah days at the old Adath Jeshurun Synagogue. My wife is also a retired elementary educator and we had a lot of free time this past winter because of the pandemic. We usually spend a few weeks in Florida enjoying the sun and fishing. Andy, knowing I had a lot of free time this past winter, reached out to find out if I would help him deliver some cases of food to food shelves.
What’s your favorite part about volunteering with JFCS?
My favorite part about volunteering with JFCS is giving back to the community. Throughout these last months of delivering to many food shelves, it’s unbelievably sad how many people in our area are food insecure. While delivering to many different locations, I have been given many tours of food shelves. It’s both amazing and incredible how proud the volunteers are at every one of the food shelf locations. They are so thankful to get the cases of food from us! I’ve been thanked and blessed countless times from individuals at the various food shelves.
Anything else to share?
None of this could be accomplished without the generosity of Andy and the Stillman Foundation. The foundation hopes to create Tikkun Olam (Jewish value and Hebrew phrase for ‘repair the world’) with the community. Andy and the foundation have devoted resources and time to giving back. JFCS and the foundation is enabling our community and world to be a much better place. It has been an honor to play a small role in distributing these cases of food to people in our community who are food insecure.