In Hackensack, NJ, the elderly and disabled can get a helping hand from the Volunteer Center of Bergen County’s Chore Program. These volunteer handy men and women, some of whom are seniors themselves, perform minor repairs and installations that allow residents to safely stay in their homes:
“Our most popular request is installing grab bars in bathrooms, but we also fix leaky faucets, flip mattresses, hang curtains, do minor electrical work, take air conditioners and screens in and out, fix drawers and cabinets, install smoke detectors and other projects like that,” John Gardner, a Mahwah resident who has been volunteering with Chore since he retired in 2005, said.
Gardner, a former teacher in Ridgewood, says the program has three vans that go out every day, responding to calls of county residents. Each van has a crew of two to four volunteers, and every volunteer dedicates one day a week, from about 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Each van gets in an average of three to five jobs a day, he said.
They were featured on a news program, The Art of Living:
Clients aren’t charged for labor, only parts (if applicable) and outdoor work and emergency work isn’t a part of the program.
I think it’s a great idea and should be a model for other programs. Seniors can get help with simple household chores, and it provides volunteer opportunities for people with handyman skills.