Every working day throughout the year in Bergen County, New Jersey, Chore Service performs minor household repairs that help elderly and disabled persons remain safe in their own homes. Repairs are done by volunteer handymen and handywomen, many of whom are retirees themselves, who range in age from 50 to 93 years.
The repairs are often those that clients can neither perform themselves nor find anyone else to do for them. Chore helps the elderly and disabled avoid costly and often unwanted institutionalization. Chore provides service without charge; the only cost to the client is for parts necessary to complete the repair.
Chore’s services include installing grab bars and railings and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors; repairing leaky faucets; replacing broken door and window locks; installing weather-stripping; and fixing broken lamps and switches.
Chore was established by the Volunteer Center of Bergen County in 1977 to: (1) help the increasing numbers of elderly and disabled people remain safe in their own homes; and (2) help retired persons find gratifying activities by utilizing some of their life skills to help others.
Through grants from the Bergen County Division of Senior Services and Office of Community Development, as well as from corporations, foundations, and donations, Chore operates three vans, staffed by 37 volunteers. Crews, composed of a driver and one to three volunteers, are on the road every business day year round, visiting 10 to 15 clients a day. Last year, Chore served 1,591 clients, completed 3,731 repairs, and logged more 7,800 volunteer hours of service.
In June 2008, This Old House magazine featured Chore Service in an article about giving back to the community. In 2007, Chore received the prestigious Volunteer Governor’s Award for Service to Senior Citizens. Chore was named a Daily Point of Light by the Points of Light Foundation, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the Knights of Columbus for its remarkable record of community service and exemplary volunteerism.
New Jersey Magazine honored Chore by recognizing one of our volunteers with a Seeds of Hope award. In 2006 Chore was featured in a TV special, "Volunteers Across America," which was aired on ABC affiliates throughout the country. Chore is also featured frequently in news media in the Northern New Jersey area.
For 32 years, the driving force of Chore Service has been the dedicated, compassionate volunteers who perform the repairs. These are extraordinary people, willing to lend their time and considerable talents to help others. Everyone of our volunteers could be doing something else, but they choose to join with other affable volunteers and help people who need their help. In the process, they dole out generous amounts of good cheer. Many of our clients are quite frail and have no family or friends around them. Chore crews are the only visitors some of our clients receive from the “outside” world, and their visits are welcome and cherished. They often write notes to our program director about how much they appreciate the service and the kindness of the ”Chore Guys and Gals.”
For more information about the Core Service, visit: http://www.bergenvolunteers.org/chore_services.htm.