A Close-up of the Friendly Visitor Program in Action

Oct 31 2017 | 03:55 AM

— Marcia lives in her own apartment in one of Warwick's senior housing developments and values her independence.
Recently Marcia made a decision not to keep her car any longer since driving became more of a challenge than she wanted.
Fortuitously, Marcia had seen a flyer for the Warwick Friendly Visitor Program on a bulletin board in her lobby and she decided to check it out.
Marcia placed a call to the Warwick Town Hall and chose Option #1 to connect with the volunteer service. She left a message indicating she needed assistance in the form of a ride to get her weekly food shopping done. A return phone call led to the assignment of Deanne, a volunteer who likes the idea of giving of her time to people in her home town.
Deanne is a retired teacher who learned about volunteering from her own mother when she was growing up. She seeks activities that are meaningful and found the Friendly Visitor Program to be important to people.
“It’s nice to be appreciated,” Deanne quipped.
Marcia can now rely on always having her refrigerator stocked with the foods she likes. She has a routine Friendly Visitor who drives her to the supermarket and helps her reach items on shelves and carries her groceries into her home. Marcia also gets a ride from another volunteer for her occasional medical appointments.
The Friendly Visitor Program is a volunteer service provided by the Town of Warwick in partnership with Jewish Family Service and the Office of the Aging, both of Orange County.
Volunteers are matched to people who request help, and new neighborly bonds are made. Volunteers are screened and attend four hours of training to understand the parameters of the program.
Volunteers offer their time either on a regular basis or an occasional basis, depending on their own interest and availability.
The town of Warwick boasts of its 8,000 senior citizens — an impressive 25 percent of the total population.
The Friendly Visitor Program can be a solution for many seniors and other adults who need some help in maintaining their independence in their homes.
If it’s not food shopping, perhaps help with getting to a medical appointment is something that’s needed. Volunteers can make a regular phone call to chat, or maybe visit for a game of cards, or help with sorting through some paperwork that is a bit overwhelming. A ride to our lovely town library to select a book or take advantage of one of the many programs can be a volunteer service as well.
If you are someone who can contribute a few hours a week or month, perhaps you'd like to consider becoming a volunteer.
Essential informationOn Nov. 6, 10 a.m. to noon, the Albert Wisner Library will host yet another training session. Call the number below to leave a message about your interest and expect a return call within a few days.
Perhaps you are someone who can use the help of a volunteer, or you know someone who could use some help.
Spread the word. This is about neighbors helping neighbors. Call Town Hall 986-1124, Option #1 and get on board.