Meet the JRA Staff: Julie Roat

If you’ve been to a Food Distribution in the last few months, you’ve probably seen our Chief of Operations Julie Roat doing the annoucements. What you may not know is that Julie is responsible for much of the behind-the-scenes work at JRA. We asked her a few questions to get to know her better:

What do you do at JRA?

I source, order and plan out food for our monthly food distributions. I also do all the bookkeeping for the agency, including accounts payable, accounts receivable, tracking and acknowledging donations and preparing audit documents. I am responsible for making sure the warehouse is set-up and ready for the distribution each month.

What were you doing before JRA? Why do you choose to work at JRA?

Before I came to JRA, I was working in the accounting department of The Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, a really unique and wonderful institution. My friend, Rachel Dunaief, was the newly appointed Executive Director of JRA and she asked me to join her on the staff. It was my first time working in the Jewish community and my first time at a social service agency. I started at JRA in December 2004 as a part-time assistant director — within a few years my role had expanded to include many more things and I began working full time in 2007.

Are there any special JRA memories you’d like to share?

One time, a colleague and I went to deliver food to a small, frail woman in her nineties. She didn’t speak a word of English, but she had a lot to say. She slowly led us around her tiny apartment, holding up photos and pointing at herself. These were photos from the 30's and 40's of a beautiful, poised young woman, dressed in beautiful clothing and posed like a movie star. She was so excited to share this part of her past. She wanted us to know that she was much more than what she appeared. She was so proud and happy to show us and we were enriched by having spent a few moments with her.

What’s something you wish everyone knew about our recipients?

Our recipients are real people with real life stories. Though we talk about them in general as “families in need,” it is important to remember that these families are made up of individuals. Your compassion and your smile when you are delivering and interacting with our individual recipients has a real impact on their lives.

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