The Chore Service
This past Saturday The Chore Service celebrated its 20th anniversary at its annual garden party benefit hosted this year by Pam Wilson and George Mason of Lakeville. Amid the splendid backdrop of their extensive gardens, approximately 400 guests enjoyed appetizers provided by Lee Kennedy of Jam Food Shop and music by James Newman of New York City. An auction and raffle of garden related items was conducted by Dary Dunham, auctioneer extraordinaire.
The Board and Staff of Chore presented Ella Clark, Chores Executive Director, with an engraved silver bracelet to thank her for her amazing leadership and service over the past 20 years.
Ella founded Chore in 1992. Its mission is to help elderly and disabled residents across seven towns in the Northwest Corner of CT (Canaan, Cornwall, Falls Village, Kent, Norfolk, Salisbury/Lakeville and Sharon) live safely and independently at home.
Twenty years ago, Chore started out serving two families in Sharon. Today, Chore serves over 240 clients with 97 local part-time workers providing 18,776 hours of affordable help at home. These workers earn $258,582 to be re-invested in the local economy. Services include house cleaning, leaf raking, grocery shopping, painting, etc. According to Clark, Chore is a community-based service that makes every dollar work locally at least twice."
Here is some history of Chore, in Ellas own words.
As Social Service Agent in Sharon I became increasingly concerned about a frail 87-year old widow earning $8,000 from Social Security, and an elderly couple, 84 and 89 with a combined income of $12,780. Both families needed affordable help in order to live safely and independently at home but state and federal programs had cut back assistance for home care.
Fortunately, I discovered that federal funding was available for Chore" programs that help clients at home and enabled clients to contribute towards the work a crucial aspect for our proud and independent customers. We applied for this funding and, after running briefly on a grant from the Berkshire Taconic Foundation, were delighted to be awarded a Title III B Grant in 1993, to create the Northwest Corner Chore Service for the towns of Canaan, Cornwall, Falls Village and Sharon. We served 22 families that first year, providing 1,369 hours of service on a total budget of $16,205. Unlike some programs, Chore serves people from all economic levels with a sliding scale of suggested contribution for services provided based on income levels. This eliminates the possible stigma of being a program for the poor" and affords us the opportunity to receive some higher contributions.
In 2009, we enhanced our seven-town outreach with two volunteer programs - Friendly Visitors which provides hours of company to seniors and Garden Angels which helps seniors with gardening. We work closely and coordinate with Social Service Agents, Visiting Nurses, churches, hospital discharge planners, Meals on Wheels personnel, and other people familiar with both client and worker needs in our communities, to continue to fulfill our mission.
To learn more about Chore: phone 860 364 1003 or www.choreservice.org