Volunteering at JEM Workshop: A truly powerful experience

 This past school year, JEM Workshop invited several grade 7 students from St. George’s High School to participate in a volunteer work experience over the period of several months, during which time the students got to understand the essence of what we do here and to bond with the workers. Several students showed their gratitude for the experience in a thank you letter.  Here are a few samples of what their time spent at JEM Workshop meant to these students:
“Truthfully, personally, I gained just as much as I gave. I gained the feeling that I just made someone’s day by sitting down with them for an hour and chatting while doing work. I never considered Community Learning a chore because everybody at JEM was so happy and they were all so nice to talk to.”
“Thank you for letting these people with special needs have a teaching opportunity. Because they are deemed special, usually they are guided by their staff to work, but bringing younger kids in to let them be teachers is a beautiful gesture not only for us, but for the employees so they may have a teaching moment.”
“As I prepared for my Bar Mitzvah shortly after my visits at JEM had come to a close, I knew that Tzedakah was something I definitely wanted to discuss in my D’var Torah because I had witnessed it firsthand when I volunteered at this organization. There are tons of people who give money as Tzedakah, but as I did more research, I realized that finding a job for someone in need is the most generous and most important form of this. This made me immediately think back to my experiences volunteering here because this is something that JEM does so well. As JEM gives back to the community of Montreal by finding jobs for its employees and providing these services for local businesses, they really are creating a lively, vibrant community at the factory.”
When you volunteer at JEM Workshop, you get so much more than you give.
If you are interested in volunteering at JEM Workshop, please contact 514 735 4217 or info@jemworkshop.org

Customer Spotlight: Hot Sauce with Heart Gourmet Chips and Sauces Inc.

When Aubrey Zelman started his business by importing spicy potato chips in 2004, he wasn’t aware of the packaging and labeling rules required for distribution in Quebec. What he did know, was that in order for his business to be successful, he would need to find experts that could guide him through the process and package and label his products in an efficient manner. Then someone told him about JEM Workshop. 

“They are not only very reasonably priced, but before each project I sit down with them and tell them what I want to do, the experts come in, and they tell me how we can make it work,” says Zelman. “They are phenomenal. Their work ethic is spectacular – faster than anything that any production house or in-house production could do. They are really organized even though they have many other projects going on at the same time as well, from cosmetics to hardware.”

Since that first bag of chips in 2004, Gourmet Chips and Sauces has grown to be one of Canada’s largest ‘Hot and Spicy’ food companies, selling condiments, snacks and sauces  - many of which are kosher - across Canada, the US, and several countries in Europe and Asia. JEM Workshop has been a major packaging and labelling partner throughout and is thrilled to see the company’s success.

“We have formed a great business partnership to the benefit of everyone involved,” says Danny Kay, Managing Director of JEM Workshop. “Our workers love working on their products and, at one point or another, more than 50 JEM workers have packaged Gourmet products.”

Some of the many services provided to Gourmet Chips and Sauces by JEM workshop include receiving, repackaging, ink jet labeling, UPC coding, sorting and shipping, to name a few. Zelman says that no matter the project, JEM workshop always tries to make it work.

Zelman says that the fact that the employees at JEM Workshop have special needs does not hinder the quality of their work in any way. In fact, he notes that on a recent order of 30,000 bottles of hot sauce which to be handled, relabelled, sorted and shipped, there was not a single mistake made. “In all my years in working with JEM, I have never had a major mistake done by them.”

Though he acknowledges that JEM Workshop is a competitive packaging service, the fact that is also a community based organization that employs adults with special needs is a huge added bonus.  “We are humbled to be working with an organization like JEM workshop that will give these individuals the opportunity to live and to excel in the world in which we live and take for granted,” says Zelman. “Walking into a regular plant you’ll get frowns and looks of ‘what are they doing here’, but at JEM they are so grateful and they just want to please –there are smiles and greetings, it’s such a wonderful place.

“No matter what, I wouldn’t go anywhere else for a number of reasons, but the bottom line is that I am giving back to the community,” says Zelman, noting he is not only thrilled to be helping the workers, the organization, and his company, but the community as well. “I look at it as a win-win for everybody.”

To learn more about how your company can benefit from services offered by JEM Workshop, please contact 514.735.4217 or info@jemworkshop.org.

Atelier JEM Workshop Inc.
Centre Leonard & Carol Berall
8400 Avenue Mountain Sights, Montreal, Quebec H4P 2B9
Tel: 514.735.4217 | Fax: 514.735.5015
Funded in-part by:
Federation CJAAvec la participation de Québec