Volunteer Spotlight: Terri & Archie Berk

Tags: Volunteer, Federation, Family

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Archie and Terri Berk have been dedicated volunteers in our community for nearly 10 years. Their first volunteering experience: a medical mission in Honduras. And they’ve never looked back. Passionate about volunteering with the Federation’s Jewish Volunteer Network, they now participate in the Winter Break Lunch Program each year. Working in partnership with the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, Jewish Cleveland volunteers serve nearly 1,000 nutritious lunches to children at-risk for hunger during the winter break.

Get to know this couple and why they like to volunteer in our community.

How did you get into volunteering?

When we retired, we felt like we needed to do something for our community. We had time on our hands and we wanted to make a difference in somebody’s life.

What was your first volunteering experience with the Federation?

In 2014, in Beit Shean, Israel – Cleveland’s sister city. For a long time we had been looking for ways to support the people in Israel, especially after the war in 2012. We heard about the Federation’s Volunteer Beit Shean program and we applied. We worked at the food banks, the schools, the libraries, and in the community. We made the best of friends while we were there. After Beit Shean, we wanted to do something meaningful here in Cleveland.

How has it been volunteering at the Winter Break Lunch Program?

These children need us. The food we provide during winter break when schools are closed may be the only meal these kids eat during those days. Plus, it’s a lot of fun for them. The kids come together to do arts and crafts and there’s entertainment by clowns and magicians. The program really brings them some much-needed holiday cheer.

Why do you continue to volunteer with the Federation?

We not only get to help the Jewish community, but the whole city. And that’s important to us. Volunteering with the Federation, we’ve realized that there is always a way to contribute to the things we’ve always cared about.

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