The Jewish Observer
News from Middle Tennessee's Jewish Community | Monday, Feb. 26, 2024
The Jewish Observer

WES Volunteers Bring Smiles to Vanderbilt Hospital Staff, Visitors

What do Jews do on Christmas Day? They see a movie and eat Chinese food. But for a number of West End Synagogue members, volunteering at Vanderbilt Hospital on Christmas morning is added to that list. They have been serving pastries, coffee, orange juice and smiles to hospital staff members and to hospital visitors for many years. They wheel carts around to each nurses station as well as serve visitors in the hospital lobby. This was the first year since the pandemic that the West End Synagogue Social Action Committee activity resumed. WES volunteers were led by Jim Handler.

Over the years, The Donut Den on Hillsboro Rd. has graciously donated any remaining supply of sweets as Christmas Eve approached. This year, with Christmas Eve on a Sunday, the Donut Den told Teena Cohen, who took on the task of collecting pastry donations, that they would be totally sold out of donuts by noon, their closing time!


New sources of sweets were needed, immediately. Joan Mehlman. suggested that Cohen should contact Angela Harris, bakery manager at Publix Belle Meade, about the possibility of some donations. Harris met Cohen at the store near closing time and pointed to three enormous boxes filled with a variety of pastries. Then she added numerous items to the boxes. She even loaded these boxes into Cohen’s car. Cohen was truly overwhelmed by the generosity.

In addition, Sam Herman, a WES member and grocery manager at the Bellevue Kroger, and Robert Laflouche, Bellevue Kroger store manager, added to the donated pastries. WES member Helen Crowley helped Cohen by finding additional donations. Vanderbilt Hospital generously provided the coffee and OJ.

WES members are looking forward to next year’s movie, Chinese food and especially volunteering at the hospital.

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