St. Joseph Social Service Center is thrilled to announce that one of our very own volunteers, Jerzy “Jerry” Maziarz, will be honored with a Russ Berrie Making a Difference Award on Friday, May 7th, 2021. It’s the 25th anniversary of the award.

Jerry Maziarz has made a difference for his community through his volunteer work at St. Joseph Social Service Center in Elizabeth, NJ. For the past 19 years, Jerry has volunteered between 5 and 6 hours each day…6 days a week! He is truly a selfless, caring and compassionate person.

Throughout this past pandemic year, Jerry has not slowed down. He has continued his relentless volunteer schedule and made sure that our sisters and brothers in the Elizabeth area have plenty of food. He wakes up in the early hours of the morning to see what is available for “shopping” on the Community Food Bank website so that we can continue to provide the best possible items to our community.

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Even after we had a Covid outbreak in early November, Jerry did not stop doing his daily food pickups and helping us make Thanksgiving possible for our community. While several paid staff members were out sick with Covid, Jerry - an unpaid volunteer - picked up the slack and kept on serving the community.

St. Joseph Social Service Center helps an average of 2500 people per month. With Jerry’s participation over the last 19 years, that would equal 47,500 people on an annual basis. He truly is an amazing, dedicated volunteer who is always there to help his neighbors. It is difficult to describe just how much he cares and gives.

Jerry is a key factor in St. Joseph Social Service Center’s existence. Without Jerry, we would not be able to distribute food. Without Jerry, there would not be a daily supply of food products “gleaned” from local supermarkets. Without Jerry, the food supply for our food pantry would not be there. Without Jerry, our staff and volunteers would not be inspired each and every day to assist our sisters and brothers in need.

The Russ Berrie Making a Difference Virtual Award Ceremony video will be broadcast on Friday, May 7 at 11:30 am., recognizing a number of unsung heroes, including Jerry, from across the Garden State for their compassion and selfless dedication to others. St. Joseph’s Social Service Center would like to invite our friends and neighbors to join us in watching it with us. Please RSVP here to receive the link to watch it.