88 Friday. August 17, 1984
THE DETROIT JEWISH* NEWS
IS . A...'FULL-TIME - JOB
Joe LaPides spends his
retirement days "volunteering"
on behalf of the elderly
BY BRIAN SCHIFF
Special-To—The Jewish News
Joe LaPides prepares lunches at McDonnell Towers . .
Mitzvah People is a new feature about unsung
volunteers in our community who help others. If you
would like,to nominate someone for a Mitzvah People
article, please send their name and your reasons for the
nomination to Mitzvah People, The Jewish News,
17515 W. Nine Mile Rd., Suite 865, Southfield, MI
48075. Please include names, addresses and
Oday JOe .LaPides can sleep
in.,He can play tennis or golf
or fly south or do whatever a
73-year-old retiree wants.
But Joe LaPides has bigger plans for
He will begin by collecting blue
boxes for the Jewish National Fund.
Playing mailman for people who
have trouble dropping .off their JNF
boxes. is how he warms up.
- o'clock, LaPides has an ap- •
Tointment at McDonnell Towers
senior citizens' apartments in South-
field. He has been going there for al-
most two on behalf of the Oak-
land . Livingston' Human Services
Agency. He walks into the kitchen
and says hello to Roger Shaver, the
chef. Roger gives him a cooler and a
box full of. lunches. LaPides carries
the load to his car.
He goes back inside to help pass
out lunches at McDonnell Towers.
Then he will get into his car and de-
liver lunChes to the elderly and sick
. .,. and visits Mrs. Carr; a blind 88-year-old who hooks rugs.
for the Meals on Wheels program.
Today he makes five deliveries.
He visits an 88-year-old blind
woman who makes rugs, and a 'couple
who've been married for 60 years.
The wife is hoping to get the husband
into a nursing home.
Joe visits an 83-year-old woman
who has said she loves him and an
84-year-old farmer hoping to sell his
land to the city of Southfield. He
closes the morning by delivering
lunch to a -couple and then takes out
their garbage. "They tear your heart
out," LaPides says.
LaPides has a hamburger for
lunch. He points to a dimple on his
cheek, the result of being shot during
a holdup in December. One of his
three daughters is a teacher at
Shrine High School and the kids
prayed for his recovery. Now he talks
about root canal. And work.
' In 1976 he retired after 25 years
with Life Insurance of Virginia. He
retired for a week. Then a daughter
HEBREW UNION COLLEGE
WAL TER ROTHMAN, LIBRARIAN
CINCINNATI, 01110 45220
married to a doctor, said the clinic
needed help. :He worked in the office
, until the clink needed help. He
worked in the office until the: clinic
was sold. Now he needed. something
to do. "If you sit around you stag-
nate;" he says. A friend suggested he
call Jewish Vocational Service (JVS).
Project Outreach is a JVS pro=
gram designed to help elderly and
isolated Jews living in the city of De-
troit.. Now four 'years old, the pro-
gram began through the efforts of the
Jewish Welfare Federation and
Rabbi Solomon Gruskin. Faye Menc-
zer, the program social worker;
enlists volunteers who can spend two
or three hours a month visiting their
assigned "haverim" (friends). .
LaPides has been with the pro-
gram for two years. He Puts in two or
three days a week at JVS, with most '
of his time spent in the office. Buses '
must be arranged so "haverim" can
get to JVS parties. Volunteers must
be assigned. Letters must be sent to a
"haver's" family. An office must be
"Joe is very reliable and mod-
est," Mrs. Mentzer says. "And he has
a real heart. A few weeks ago he went
to a party. - and there were some lef-
tover flowers. He took the flowers to
one of our clients at Borman Hall.
. . The Jenkins Boarding Home as
Ga sp PPillevard 1 P301444;.'
Jews live there and places like it
throughout the city. Of the nine
women residents, two are Jewish. Joe
brings them a bag of sweet rolls. He
asks how they've been. They say
they've missed him.
They . thank him for the §wegt
rolls and ask him when the next
party will be and when they can get
into a JVS workshop. LaPides says ,
he will let them know. One of_the
women complains 'of water on the
knee. LaPides says he will see that
she gets medical 'attention. Both
women tell' LaPides td come back
"The appreciation that these
people show for helping them, for giv-
ing them a good word or a pat on the
cheek makes it rewarding," LaPides
says. "They appreciate the fact that
you're there showing 'them some
Lapides will go home now. He
will go home to Rose, his wife of 52
years Rose. does volunteer work for
JNF, Red Cross and Hadassah. He
will not play tennis or golf today like
he did when he was "working." He's'
too busy. - . •
"I'm doing something worth-
while," he says. "I have friends who
play , golf and cards three times a
week. That's fine. But there's no
satisfaction. People I'm with ap-
.• . •,• - What'IluLdoing..".
f • ■