A family that shops together, stays together…

Sharon Berke, husband Marc Pelletier, and their children Romeo and Enzo live in Jamaica Plain.  Each week, they take Jennie, a 99 year old resident of West Roxbury, to the grocery store. Romeo is 10, and Enzo is 8, and their experiences are incorporated into their home school curriculum! “It is fun being with her, it’s amazing!” Enzo states about volunteering with Jennie. “I really like helping Jennie and its fun talking to her,” says Romeo.

Jennie means so much more to the family than just shopping for groceries. Sharing a common Jewish heritage with the Berke-Pelletier family, she loves sharing recipes from her childhood. “I feel [like] I’ve known you for a long time. I think you as family,” Jennie says to Sharon.  The boys have also weeded Jennie’s garden this spring and trimmed her hedges!

“I love seeing Jennie talking about food. I love the twinkle in her eye and the gestures in her fingers when she describes a dish,” Sharon states as one of her favorite things about volunteering with her children and Jennie.

“She [Jennie] is sharp, personable, open, fun, and proactive about her health. She is an inspiration,” Sharon states, “… she has become a part of our family.”

Sharon says her family has learned a lot through volunteering with Jennie, especially to “not break your commitment to others even when you are tired.” Romeo and Enzo are often busy with school and extracurricular activities, but always find time to spend with Jennie on a weekly basis to help her remain independent at home.

The family feels they have grown closer from their time spent with Jennie and Romeo and Enzo have developed a sense of community and respect for elders. Sharon states that a prospective volunteer should definitely have an open mind, have no expectations, and enjoy every experience!

Seniors need dedicated volunteers like you! To learn more about volunteering with Ethos’ Grocery Shopping Assistance Program, contact Meg Licht, Volunteer Services Program Manager, at mlicht@ethocare.org or 617-522-6700 x323.