On July 1, the Jewish Federation of Howard County’s FED TOV Volunteer Program officially merged with Kugel Connection, a local organization that provides socialization opportunities for isolated Jewish seniors, to become Fed TOV Connections.
Kugel Connection was established six years ago by Howard County community member Cheryl Kaufman. Through programs like the Candle Light Concert Series at local concerts and the Eat & Schmooze lunches at the Lubavitch Center of Howard County, the organization matched volunteers with senior residents who needed transportation to fun and engaging programming. It also matched volunteers with clients for one-on-one visits, food deliveries, and transportation for other necessities.
Over time, Cheryl connected with the Jewish Federation’s Community Social Worker, Michalah Hoffman, and through a partnership with Michalah, was able to expand the scope of Kugel Connection to help provide food for Michalah’s clients, low-income Jewish residents in Howard County. In March 2019, when the Jewish Federation established the FED TOV volunteer program to match volunteers with those in need, Cheryl continued to coordinate with Michalah, connecting Kugel Connection’s volunteers and resources with Michalah’s clientele.
When Cheryl decided to retire from Kugel Connection this year, it felt natural to merge the organization with FED TOV. Now the most vulnerable in the community will continue to have access to the best resources.
“Six year ago, Cheryl saw the need in the community and started her non-profit organization. It’s an honor now to take on her ‘baby’ and ensure that her great work continues in the community,” says Michalah.
Thanks to the merger, nine new volunteers have joined Fed TOV Connections, which has approximately 50 volunteers. In addition to matching volunteers and those in need, Fed TOV Connections will continue to offer the senior engagement programs initiated by Kugel Connection.
"My collaborations with Michalah allowed me to see that we shared the same passion for making a difference,“ says Cheryl. “With Michalah at the helm of Fed TOV Connections, I know the volunteers and Kugel Connection’s mission are in good hands."