Meet Ira KaplanEaston Volunteer
From: Sharon
If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go?: I have traveled so much that I just want to be home.
Favorite quote: "Just do it"
Favorite sports team: Patriots
Last book you read:
Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott Smith
Favorite Meal: Foie Gras
Could you tell me a little about yourself-where you grew up, what lead you to where you are today?
I grew up in Dorchester and Brookline. If someone were to ask what the essence of me is, I would have to say being a teacher. As for what lead me to where I am today, I was 21 when my mother died at the age of 47. I had a career path set and it got dramatically changed with her death. I ended up going to work for her father’s business. I was the president of that company and then I left it in 2002, but it got me into the food service equipment and supplies industry. We were manufacturers and I did that for 35+ years and today I am a partner at Irinox USA, which distributes Irinox Blast Chillers and Shock Freezers.
What are your interests besides My Brother’s Keeper?
My two key passions are hunger relief and community service. I am on the board of directors for The Taste of the NFL, which is the only endorsed charity that the NFL has during the Superbowl. We have raised millions of dollars in our 20+ years and all of the money goes to the food banks to feed the hungry. I am also on the board of advisors of After the Harvest in Kansas City, which is committed to gleaning which is gathering the fallen product from trees, and getting it to processing centers to feed the hungry. When I learned that an excess of 40 million people go to bed hungry every night and that over 20% of them are children, I thought that as a member of the food service industry, I had to do something, and it starts with volunteering.
In terms of community service, I believe that if you live in an area you should do something for the area. I have been on the board at the New England Sinai Hospital in Stoughton for over 25 years.
How long have you been volunteering at My Brother’s Keeper?
I really don’t know how long I’ve been volunteering but I got involved through my close friend Jacques Dunn. Jacques was passionate about the mission of My Brother’s Keeper and shared that passion with me and got me involved.
How has religion/faith played a role in your experiences at My Brother’s Keeper?
Jim and Terry Orcutt and Erich Miller clearly talk about doing Christ’s work, but that mission doesn’t exclude people of different faiths from joining in and experiencing the joy of doing, as they define it, Christ’s work on Earth. I, being of a different faith, find the love that these people bring to trying to help others is living their faith. My Brother’s Keeper is a community that allows anyone in who wants to work for the mission.
One of the joys that I have had at My Brothers Keeper is that my granddaughter has been adopting a family and wrapping gifts for Christmas for over seven years. My Brothers Keeper helps me teach her about thinking of others, transcending a faith, but following a faith.
Do you have a memorable story you have from your time with My Brother’s Keeper?
My friend Jacques and I were delivering presents at Christmas time and we got to this very big house that had a very expensive car in the driveway and I turn to Jacques and say, “What are we doing here?” And Jacques, my friend who never raises his voice, looked at me and said, “Ira, there is a judge and it isn’t you. In my world it happens to be Jesus Christ, I’m not sure about your world, but I can absolutely validate that the judge isn’t you. Get out of the car and bring the presents to the house because we do not know what is happening behind those doors.” I must tell you that it truly impacted me. When I am getting ready to make a judgment, I start thinking there is a judge and it isn’t me. I tell the story all the time because it is a wonderful lesson that Jacques taught me as he followed Christ during his life.
What keeps you coming back to My Brother’s Keeper?
Erich and the entire My Brother’s Keeper Family are just amazing. When you walk into the building you get this feeling that you are being given a gift to serve. Looking at the faces of the volunteers everybody is there to do Christ’s work. There is no “I” at My Brother’s Keeper and that is a very beautiful thing.
Do you have any advice for future volunteers?
Volunteer if you can, with your family if you are lucky enough to have one, especially exposing young people to the love, commitment, community, spirituality and action, which is what My Brothers Keeper is all about.
For more information about Volunteer Spotlight, please contact Samantha Gignac: smgignac@comcast.net



A suggestion: Ask yourselves this question.
"Am I my brother's keeper?" If the answer is Yes, perhaps you would like to join us, as we go Along the Way in spreading the Love and Hope of Jesus Christ.

If you wish to contribute, use one of the following methods:

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My Brother's Keeper, Inc.
P.O. Box 338
Easton, Massachusetts 02356

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My Brother's Keeper is totally dependent upon private donations.

My Brother's Keeper is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

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"Whatever you do for the most humble of my people, you do for me."
Matthew 25:40