Volunteer Spotlight: Charles Schachnow

Charles Schachnow was born and raised in Ottawa. His involvement started at a very young age as a volunteer at synagogue events. He eventually went on to volunteer for various community organizations including Tamir and the Chevra Kadisha; he has also led the Federation’s Annual Campaign as the chair.


Here is his story:


My involvement in the Jewish community started at a very young age helping with shul events and fundraisers. I remember helping make calls to sell trees to be planted in Israel for the Tu B’shvat telethon when I was around 13 years old.


My passion for our community

I am passionate about anything to do with the Jewish community but I have worked most of my life making calls for Federation’s annual fundraising campaign, chairing the Federation Annual Campaign four years ago, as well as chairing various divisions within the community for many years.


I have a real soft spot for Tamir and Hillel Lodge. I have been involved with Tamir since they began over 25 years ago. Volunteering for the Chevra Kadisha for the last eight and a half years has given me a lot of personal satisfaction, as we are a group that takes a lot of pride in our dedication to this important job.


I get a lot more out of giving

It feels really great to help and give back to a community that has been so good to me and my family. My wish is for everyone to give a little to help out and have that same great feeling when you've made a little difference in someone else's life.


We are a very small community and if everyone chips in a little, what a great difference it makes.


People who inspire me

The people I look up to when it comes to fundraising and community work are my parents, Morris and Shelley, along with my dear bubby, Anne Blair, who passed away almost three years ago. My parents were always involved and my bubby, who was just shy of her 100th birthday, was still running bingos at her retirement home and donating the money to worthy causes.


My longtime friend Robert Greenberg gave me the confidence in myself to take on leadership roles. Roger Greenberg is so passionate in his volunteering that it kind of rubs off on you. I would be remiss if I didn't mention some unsung heroes to me, people like Harold and Rosalie Schwartz, who just go about doing so much in the community without much fan fair. When I chaired the Annual Campaign, Harold was the volunteer who took the most cards, in the hundreds, never looked for praise and just went about his business raising thousands of dollars for our community. And Issie Scarowsky who gives so much of his time to worthy causes in making our community a better place to live.


Thank you Charles for sharing your story with us!


Looking for a way to get involved in the community? Check out the volunteer center: https://jewishottawa.com/volunteering

Charles Schachnow