Volunteers help those homebound for the holidays

By: Brian Louwers, | Warren Weekly | Published December 21, 2016

WARREN — Sometimes, the clients that Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers serves live alone. Sometimes, they can’t get out to run basic errands most take for granted. Some need everyday household items. Some need help with their chores or yard work.

Others just need someone to talk to. And for homebound seniors and others with limited mobility, the “most wonderful time of the year” can also be the most lonely.

“I’ve found that we provide a lot of practical services through the year, whether it’s transportation, home repairs, shopping or housekeeping,” Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers Executive Director Karyn Dombrowski Curro said. “But I’ve also found that a lot of people who call us are also quite lonely.

 Samantha Sawyer, of Harrison Township, rakes leaves at the home of an Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers client in Warren Dec. 3. Sawyer was part of a group from Warren’s Community Choice Credit Union that volunteered to assist homebound individuals serviced by the nonprofit.

Samantha Sawyer, of Harrison Township, rakes leaves at the home of an Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers client in Warren Dec. 3. Sawyer was part of a group from Warren’s Community Choice Credit Union that volunteered to assist homebound individuals serviced by the nonprofit.

Photo by Sarah Purlee

“By nature, those who call us don’t have others to rely on. There’s just a deep level of loneliness. I think we all know around the holiday time, I think that’s only accentuated for people who are lonely.”  

The group is always looking for volunteers, who can assist in a variety of different ways that accommodate their own schedules. Sometimes, that means making friendly visits to homebound seniors or people living with physical challenges. Some volunteers make calls to say “happy birthday” or to offer support in a time of need. Other services range from minor home repairs to chores, light housekeeping and yard work. Volunteers can also step in to provide respite for full-time family caregivers, offer transportation and help with errands, light meal preparation and other things that let clients continue to live safely in their own homes.

On Dec. 3, a group of volunteers from the Community Choice Credit Union went to work for Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers at several locations. After one of their stops, an 86-year-old Korean War veteran said the group “came out like an army” to finish some late-season yard work. Dombrowski Curro said the partner on the project, Toros Bardakjian from the credit union, was able to secure a donation of 12 rakes from the Home Depot store in Warren, working with assistant store manager Nate Grove.

“They were all so great and gracious with their time and doing what they did,” he said. “I bet there was 20 people. They did a really great job.”

On its website, Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers reminds both clients and volunteers that the group is not a professional service. They do not provide health care services, and the volunteers are more akin to “neighbors helping neighbors.”

“I think, especially at the holiday time, it’s just essential that we connect with them and let them know the community,” Dombrowski Curro said. “That connectedness, the loneliness, is just really acute during the holidays, and we help connect them with the rest of the world.”

Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers is based in Center Line. The nonprofit serves clients in Macomb County and parts of Oakland and St. Clair counties.

To inquire about services or for more information about volunteering, visit www.ivcinfo.org or call (586) 757-5551.