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Our Story

Steve Royal and David Ovson Co-Chair 2021 Friends Campaign

Asked why he stepped up to co-chair the CJFS Friends campaign for a second straight year, David Ovson had … oh, so many reasons!   

First, David is a longtime volunteer in the CJFS CARES dementia respite program. “Recently a long-time friend with Alzheimer’s joined the program. His wife tells me that, between the time she drops him off and when she picks him up his whole disposition changes for the positive” David says. “Dementia can be so isolating for the person affected and for the caregiver. CARES is an environment of laughter and fun, where everyone is welcome and belongs.” David also is a devoted volunteer in CJFS’ Senior Grocery Initiative, a partnership between CJFS and the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama. Every month, David delivers groceries to low-income seniors through the program. In getting to know the clients, David has been able to see how important the deliveries are to their food security, and he finds it an “easy” and meaningful way to serve those in need. 

But the reason that may be closest to David’s heart is that for years the agency helped his late sister Suzy, who passed away in August, maintain her independence. “Physically, Suzy wasn’t able to clean and do certain other things for herself. The CJFS Personal Care program, enabled her to stay in her apartment at Episcopal Place. Being able to live independently meant a lot to my sister, and I know that other people who use that program feel the same,” David said.   

Steve Royal is David’s co-chair in the Friends campaign. Like David, Steve is a volunteer member of the CJFS Board, and, like David, supporting Friends is personal. Steve’s wife, Lana, is a longtime CARES volunteer, and he said impact on her life has been profound.“It’s the most powerful volunteer experience during our married life that Lana has been involved in,” Steve said. “The volunteers, staff, participants and caregivers have formed a family and a language and a cohort that is unique. The volunteers care deeply about the participants and caregivers, and I am in awe at the community they have formed.”

The Friends campaign, which runs through December 31, may not be as familiar to some CJFS supporters as the annual Hands Up Together event, which is usually in late Spring, but the dollars raised are just as important in meeting needs in our community.  “Friends is as simple as writing a check, whatever amount that might be,” Steve said, “and it has a tremendous impact!”


To learn more about CJFS Friends, please visit

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