Since she began volunteering in September 2019, Irina Krugler has been an irreplaceable staple of the Commonpoint Queens volunteer corps. For the last two years, Irina has volunteered at the Forest Hills food pantry nearly every weekday.
Born in Moscow in the Soviet-Era, Irina immigrated to the United States as a refugee through the help of UJA when she was a teenager. After graduating from Hunter College and working as a commercial artist for many years, Irina embarked on a career with the Jewish Federation’s now-defunct New York Association for New Americans (NYANA) as a Russian translator for new immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Irina’s translation skills have been critical to the functioning of the food pantry, with a sizeable percentage of clients only speaking Russian.
Irina’s favorite part about volunteering at the pantry is the connections that she has made with clients and volunteers. “I have met such special people here,” Irina says. “The volunteers are like family, and the way we treat clients like family is the reason why we are one of the most successful food pantries in all of New York.”
“Be kind to each other and be helpful whenever you can–because you never know when you may be the person needing help. Life is extremely fragile and one’s circumstances can change very quickly.”
– Irina Krugler, when asked what the one message she would like to share with the world would be.