Barbara Guttman

Barbara Guttman finds joy in preparing Shabbat meals for residents at the Daniel B. Sobel Friendship House through Friendship Circle.

Sponsored by Friendship Circle

Barbara Guttman first heard about Friendship Circle when her youngest daughter was in high school. Her daughter joined several friends to help at the Friendship Circle After School Program, ‘buddying up’ with local children with special needs.

At a Friendship Circle event several years ago, Guttman heard Rabbi Benny, Director of the Daniel B. Sobel Friendship House, share about its mission to support those struggling with addiction or life crisis. He spoke about the work they did providing Shabbat meals to individuals in hospitals, nursing homes or unable to leave home. She knew this was something she needed to get involved with.

Three years later, Guttman is part of a weekly team of volunteers who join Benny and his wife, Bluma, to prepare Shabbat meals. Each bag is prepared with soup, bread and something sweet.

Coming Full Circle

Seeing the smile on the faces of each person she delivers a meal to is what keeps Guttman coming back week after week. Often, the Friendship House volunteers are the only visitors a recipient will see that week.

“The smile we’re able to put on those faces is a great reminder that it doesn’t take a lot of time to make a big difference in someone’s life!” says Guttman. “To me it’s a couple of hours on a Friday. To them, it’s knowing that someone cares enough to know they are Jewish and make sure they have a home-cooked meal for Shabbat.”

Creating relationships with recipients is only part of the impact that Friendship House has had on Guttman.

“It’s been such a learning experience to meet individuals in recovery that I would not normally meet in my life,” Guttman says. “We work alongside each other. That is what is amazing about Friendship House. There is no us or them. We all have our own journeys to get us here. And, we can all help.”

Guttman is one example of the many stories of volunteers inside of Friendship House making a difference in the lives of the community.

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Read more:

Father and Son Find Hope Through Friendship House

Friendship House: Acceptance, Community and Hope