Hearts and Hands
By Carol S. Wolf
My church, Nativity United Church of Christ in Tonawanda, recently hosted a speaker from Hearts and Hands who told us all about the amazing things they are doing in WNY. They distributed flyers and talked about the Senior Volunteer Program. Hearts and Hands is a “neighbor helping neighbor” organization. It is a not-for-profit organization serving many communities. It began services in the Kenmore-Tonawanda community on April 1, 2019. Hearts and Hands links willing volunteers with older or physically challenged adults for basic services such as transportation to medical appointments, errands, or social activities. They do light housekeeping, yard work, and caregivers respite visits. This support helps these neighbors remain independent in their home and in their community. Volunteers receive mileage reimbursement and supplemental insurance coverage. Volunteers may take assignments that fit their schedule.
One of our members, Chrissy DeMart, had begun volunteering for them. In our bulletin, she and her husband wrote about becoming “Nativities Team Leaders” and suggested contacting them to learn more about Hearts and Hands. I called her and set up a time to meet with her. I found our meeting very interesting as I had never heard of Hearts and Hands before.
I met with Chrissy and asked her how she got involved. She told me when she started coming to Nativity Church, she was given a survey to fill out. She said, “I was very impressed by the Community Outreach that was being done so I took the flyer about Hearts and Hands home with me and called them to meet with them about becoming a volunteer. They told me Hearts and Hands is a “neighbor helping neighbor” organization where you can put your faith in action.”
She shared the volunteer expectations with me:
• Live out the spirit of giving by sharing your time and talents with the Hearts and Hands care receivers who are individuals over the age of sixty.
• Select assignments that fit your schedule and interests; volunteering is flexible.
• You can support care receivers by driving them to appointments, doing some light housekeeping and organizing, completing simple repairs around the house or doing yard work, friendly visits, and caregiver respite.
• Volunteer as often as you wish, weekly, monthly, or seasonally.
• Volunteer Coordinators handle all of the arrangements.
• Mileage reimbursement and supplemental insurance coverage provided.
You can enroll with your congregation’s team leader if you have one or you can enroll online at <www.hnhcares.org>. You may also call 716-406-8311, ext. 102
Through the volunteer network, they provide:
• Transportation for medical appointments, grocery shopping, pharmacy, hair appointments, errands, or social activities
• Light housekeeping which includes vacuuming, dusting, floor cleaning, and laundry
• Companion visits and social interaction for homebound seniors
• Caregiver respite, allowing caregivers a little more free time
• Caregiver canines and therapy dog visits
Social isolation and loneliness are serious problems for many older adults. One of the new programs they have is called Coffee and Conversation. Funding from their Aging by Design grant is helping them to begin the Coffee and Conversation program. According to AARP, socially isolated people have higher risks for cardiovascular disease, infections, hypertension, and premature cognitive decline. Having social connections reduces the risk of early death by 50 percent. Demographically, social isolation occurs more among men than women, but it occurs about equally among people who are living alone or living with someone, as well as people who are single or married. Volunteers and care receivers who are interested in participating in Coffee and Conversation should contact us at 716-406-8311. So far the communities that participate are Akron, Alden, Amherst, Clarence, Holland, Lockport, Marilla, Newstead, North Tonawanda, and Wales. The list is growing!
Their administrative offices are located at 1412 Sweet Home road, Suite 12, Amherst, NY 14228. Contact Heidi Nicklaus Lefevre at 716-406-8311, ext 103 or get more information on the web at <www.hnhcares.org>.
Hearts and Hands certainly sounds like an incredible organization. If it is something you think would work for you, give them a call.
If you know of a successful program in your community or would like more information please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Carol Wolf is a writer, speaker, storyteller, and leader of workshops and retreats. She is retired from 35 years in health care administration and co-hosts a TV show called Challenge for the 21st Century for the Network of Religious Communities. She is the author of Journey into Prayer and Biblical Storytelling in Youth Ministry. She has been married to Dick for 58 years and they have two sons, four grandchildren, and one great-grandson.|
Carol wrote this book as part of her two year Master's program in the Academy for Biblical Storytellers. It has just been published and is available for $10.00. Carol is an author, speaker and leader of workshops meditations and conference.
"This book give you an opportunity to experience how, when we become a part of the biblical story, we often find meaning for our own life. It is an incredible resource for confirmation, baptism, and intergenerational groups." Trracy Radosevic, Dean, Academy for Biblical Storytellers.
Anyone interested in buying a book can email me @email@example.com. The book is $10.00 + $2.00 mailing.