Forty years of women volunteering and making a difference

August 2021
Laurie Pringle

Forty years ago another Trudeau (Pierre) was our Prime Minister. The top songs of the year 1981’s were “Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes, “Your Kiss is On My Lips” by Hall and Oats, and “Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield.  Disco was on the way out, Hair Rock Bands and New Wave were on the upswing! A loaf of bread cost 54 cents, a stamp was 17 cents, and you could see “Raiders of the Lost Ark” for $2.25.

Meanwhile, at Shalom Village, Rochelle Waxman and JoAnn Pomerantz teamed up to create the Shalom Village Ladies Auxiliary Tea, to support seniors at Shalom Village.  With their boundless energy, persistence, and spirit of generosity, these two dynamic women started an event, that still continues 40 years later. Very few charities can boast about a 40-year-old event that continues to grow each and every year.

Inspired by this remarkable mitzvah, many other women from the local community joined Waxman and Pomerantz. They scrubbed floors, made the sandwiches, baked all the goods, visited local stores to request donations, and drove to Toronto to buy kosher bread. If it had to be done, these dedicated volunteers in the Ladies Auxiliary rolled up their sleeves to make it happen.

Back in 1981, the Shalom Village Tea was an intimate affair, attended by friends and family members of the volunteer. Initially, the event raised hundreds of dollars,  but as it picked up steam, the Tea began to raise thousands of dollars. Tea was served buffet style, and it was a wonderful excuse to see friends, dress up and do good.

Today, thanks to the early efforts of the Ladies Auxiliary volunteers, the event hosts more than 200 guests and raises more than $65,000. Some of the items purchased with Tea donations include a piano, patient lifts, an industrial generator, specialized resident beds, a nursing call system, and multi-sensory stimulation programs for seniors living with dementia. In addition to their financial support, many Tea donors offer their tickets to Shalom Village residents who might not otherwise be able to attend, making their gift twice as impactful! 

All of this is made possible thanks to our Ladies Auxiliary Tea callers, bakers, errand runners, and of course, Rochelle and JoAnn. The Shalom Village Foundation now provides  additional support to the Ladies Auxiliary, but the real heroes remain the wonderful ladies! 

The uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic means we don’t know what the Tea’s 40th anniversary will look like, but our volunteers  are determined to make it special and wonderful.  

We hope you will join us as we applaud their 40 years of volunteerism and thank them for all they’ve done for Shalom Village, the Jewish community, and Hamilton seniors. We are truly blessed to be the recipients of such impressive dedication and support. 

If you’re looking for a wonderful way to give back to the local community, and the seniors who helped build it, please contact us to find out how you can join our wonderful group of Ladies Auxiliary volunteers. As Sasha Weisz said recently,

“It has always been my pleasure and privilege to have been able to volunteer and assist Shalom Village in any way that I can. Their annual tea is a great time to support and to help out! I applaud Rochelle and JoAnn for their 40 years of dedication to this wonderful event!”

And to all our current and past volunteers, thank you ladies! We look forward to supporting your efforts for many more years.