The Jewish Family & Career Services Food Pantry has established itself as a reliable resource for the community. In fact, in March, Dare to Care recognized the JFCS Food Pantry as the Closed Pantry of the Year with the Bobby Ellis Award.
It takes an army of dedicated volunteers and donors to keep the Food Pantry working, and this year, the Jewish Community of Louisville’s Ron and Marie Abrams Volunteer of the Year Award goes to two of those dedicated, long-time volunteers, Carole Goldberg and Linda Goodman. The awards will be presented at the JCL Annual Meeting, Sunday, June 14, at 9:30 a.m. at the Jewish Community Center.
Long-time community leaders at the Jewish Federation of Louisville, in the annual Federation Campaign and with the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (nationally) and the Jewish Community Relations Council (locally), Ronald and Marie Abrams established the Volunteer of the Year Award to recognize an individual whose life is defined by community service.
Goldberg and Goodman certainly fit into that category. These two friends volunteer at the JFCS Food Pantry every week and have been doing so for many years. “Thank G-d for all the wonderful people in our community who bring in food and cleaning supplies and keep our pantry full,” Goodman said.
In addition to keeping the pantry organized and ensuring that the stock is rotated regularly, they help organize fundraisers and recruit friends and family members as volunteers.
“It is wonderful to be able to provide a clean and dignified way for our clients to shop and choose items they need and want,” Goodman added. “A lost job, a health issue or any hiccup in life can change life in an instant. I think we are fortunate to be in a position to feed the hungry and help our fellow man in a respectful way.”
Both women had words of praise for JFCS Volunteer Coordinator Kim Toebbe and Executive Director Judy Freundlich Tiell. “Just walking into the building you feel like it is a big family,” Goodman said.
“I was shocked to hear that I, along with Carole Goldberg, was selected as the Ron and Marie Abrams Volunteer of the Year,” Goodman said. “It is hard to believe that I am being honored for doing things that I truly love to do and that bring me such joy. I am truly humbled.”
Goldberg agreed saying, “I’m astounded. We love it so much that we really shouldn’t be rewarded for it, … I was really just surprised and flattered.”
Goldberg became active with the Food Pantry when she retired. She counted Goodman, Janet Meyer and Shelley Kahn among her friends, and they were all heavily involved in the Food Pantry, so she decided to it was something she wanted to do, too. She found it to be addictive and fun.
Born in Long Island, Goldberg lived in New Hampshire and Michigan before coming to Louisville. When she arrived, her children were in school and she needed something to do, so, for several years, she volunteered at the Jefferson County Law Library.
She also joined The Temple and got involved with the congregation’s Sisterhood. “One of the first things I did,” Goldberg said, “was the 5101 Gala Show,” a big and successful fundraiser. “I met a lot of wonderful people through Sisterhood,” she said.
More recently, she organized an art show and sale fundraiser at The Temple. She also enjoys participating in Chavurat Shalom.
Her first husband passed away in 1981, and several years later, she married Larry Goldberg. Until he retired, he was a thoracic surgeon, and for a while, she worked in his office. Later, she and her son-in-law, David Joels, ran a fire and police equipment business, Camp Safety of Louisville. She also worked in retail at Bacon’s for a while.
Now at the Food Pantry, she is involved in every aspect of its operation from organizing its Pizza Party fundraiser to its Bingo Bagels friend-raiser as well as ensuring that the pantry itself is stocked and organized. Goldberg says she’s also on the Doing Committee at The Temple, is a member of Hadassah and a lifetime member of National Council of Jewish Women.
Doing mitzvot has always been an important part of Goldberg’s life, and she is concerned that the younger generation won’t be as involved in volunteering. To give children the opportunity to engage in mitzvot with their families and get into the habit of volunteering, the Goldbergs created the Family Mitzvah Fund at JFCS. Several times a year, usually in conjunction with Jewish holidays, the fund supports a hands-on mitzvah program for families. This year, she hopes to recruit a committee of young women to help with the planning.
Goldberg’s grandchildren, Lori and Susan Joels, now 16 and 14 respectively, regularly participate in Family Mitzvah programs, and they can often be found lending a hand at the JFCS Food Pantry.
Both Goldberg and Goodman spend a lot of time talking about the Food Pantry to increase awareness and recruit additional volunteers to their cause. “We talk about it wherever we go,” she said. One thing she does is whenever she hosts a party at home, she asks her guests to bring a canned good rather than a hostess gift. Now other friends follow her example.
Her family includes her daughter, Rachel Shankman Joels and son-in-law, David Joels, and their children Lori and Susie; and a son, Jeff Shankman.
A native of Louisville and graduate of the University of Louisville, Goodman was a social worker for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. When she married Steve Goodman, he was drafted and served in Korea. During that time, she volunteered with the Jewish Hospital Guild Gift Shop twice a week.
When their children were born, Goodman went to work in her husband’s family business, S. Goodman and Sons, a dealer in wool, hides, furs and roots, and one of the oldest Jewish family businesses in Louisville.
Goodman began her volunteer career early “as a young girl with the USO Junior Hostesses at the JCC, led by two lovely ladies, Doris Meyers and Annette Sagerman. We would make salami sandwiches and travel out to Ft. Knox to serve them to the soldiers after Shabbat services on Friday nights.” They would also host Saturday night dances at the JCC.
As a teen, Goodman wanted to join the clubs at the JCC, but, since she was rarely able to get to the JCC and the other girls didn’t know her, she wasn’t chosen by any club. “I was devastated,” she said, “but I vowed then that one day I would work within the club system and make sure that no girl was excluded again.”
She kept her promise and, along with Terry Weiss, became an advisor for L’Chaim BBG. During her eight years in that position, “things were changed so no girl was left out,” she said.
At the JCC, she also volunteered in the Children’s, Middle School and Teen Departments, at the JCC’s Bingo fundraisers, and, along with Minda Schwartz, was a leader of the JCC’s Girl Scout troop. She also served on the Membership Committee and the JCC Board.
“I was a charter member of Hillel,” Goodman recalled, and Rabbi Chester Diamond, then the new Rabbi in Town, was the advisor.
Following her marriage to Steve Goodman, she became active in The Temple, then Adath Israel, and remains so today. She worked in the Gift Shop, was a Cub Scout leader, and “served on every committee and held every office in the Sisterhood except president, which I refused,” she said. “I ran many a rummage sale and worked hard on 5101, which was one of the most successful fundraisers The Temple ever had.”
Goodman and Elaine Lerner served as co-presidents of Mizrachi Women. Today she is a life member of both The Temple Sisterhood (now Women of Reform Judaism) and National Council of Jewish Women.
She also tutored reading at Lowe Elementary School and was active in the school’s PTA, in which she held many offices. She also served both Lowe and The Temple Sunday School as room mother for her three children.
More recently, she volunteered at Bloom Elementary School, where her granddaughter, Shayna, is a student.
Goodman began volunteering with the JFCS Food Pantry soon after Shelley Kahn and Ruth Silon set it up. “I would go in one day a week and restock the shelves; and since that time, I have been sort of obsessed with being there and keeping the pantry straightened and full,” she said.
Goldberg started volunteering there a few years later and they soon became a team. “We work so well together and get lots done,” she said. “We are both kind of bossy and tell each other what to do, and neither of us listens to the other.
“Seriously,” she continued, “we are dear friends who are blessed to have so many other volunteers who work with us to keep the pantry going strong.”
Goodman’s volunteer work at JFCS has expanded to include driving for the Senior PALS program and writing up oral histories.
“I have always thought that volunteerism and family go hand-in-hand,” she continued. “I tried to volunteer where my children and grandchildren could be involved. I wanted my children to know how important it is to give back to your community so you can live in a good community, and we do. I also wanted them to know how much volunteering would enrich each of their lives as it has mine.”
The Goodmans have two daughters, Alyce Abraham and Stacy Grossman; a son, Seth; a son-in-law, Howard Abraham. Their two grandchildren, Aiden Grossman and Shayna Goodman, have volunteered at the Food Pantry many times. “The last time Aiden came to town and came to the pantry with me,” Goodman said, “he said, ‘Bubbi, you have the best job in the world.’ And I have to agree!”