What began as an effort to help others through Southeast Lake County Faith in Action Volunteers (SELCFIA) has turned into friendship between volunteers and care recipients.
This phenomenon was overflowing the room at SELCFIA’s annual holiday party Friday at the Patty Turner Center in Deerfield as many of the volunteers served a pre holiday lunch to more than 40 participants in the program sharing the meal with them. More than 80 attended the event.
Joyce Friedman, 71, of Highland Park grew up in the Chicago area. Then she acted on Broadway in New York and spent time as a hand model in California before returning to the area a few years ago to help her ill parents.
Not long after, Friedman had an accident and needed help herself. “I never dreamed I would not be able to do things I had taken for granted,” Friedman said of the nerve damage that impairs certain abilities.
That is when Dorothy Zitzewitz, 82, and Carl Zitzewitz, 83, of Deerfield came into Friedman’s life through Faith in Action, a joint effort of three Deerfield churches, Zion Lutheran Church, Christ United Methodist Church and Holy Cross Catholic Church as well as Congregation B’nai Torah in Highland Park.
“I think we’re the oldest volunteers,” Carl Zitzewitz said of an organization where younger people often assist their elders.
After going through the training provided by SELCFIA, the Zitzewitzes met Friedman and began giving her transportation to doctor’s appointments and the grocery store once a week. After four years it became something more.
“They have become my friends,” Friedman said. “I have a special feeling. We are very close. We laugh together.
Laurie Schaffel of Deerfield provides Lois Shane, also of Deerfield, with transportation to shopping and other needs on a weekly basis. Schaffel has been helping Shane with these needs for a year.
This relationship has become more as well. Shane does not have a computer so when Walgreens no longer carried favorite cosmetics she thought she would have to do without.
“She (Schaffel) even went on line and got me make up I could no longer refill in the store,” Shane said. “She surprised me with it.”