SOUTHINGTON — There’s no special skills needed to help the elderly and disabled, according to Regina Coviello, a volunteer with UR Community Cares.
The group matches volunteers with those needing rides, household work or just companionship. Coviello said she has her own mobility issues but is able to drive and strike up a conversation.
“You can bring someone to the doctor, you can sit and talk to someone,” she said.
Coviello was matched with an 83-year-old town resident and Navy veteran.
“He’s now a friend,” she said.UR Community Cares
Michelle Puzzo, UR Community Cares executive director, said the organization helps connect people in about 160 towns and cities. Volunteers can go to the organization’s website, https://urcommunitycares.org/home/volunteer, to enter information about themselves and what types of help they’d like to provide.
“Transportation is definitely an issue in Southington, but also needs around the house,” Puzzo said. “People with limited mobility, they need help with household chores.”
During certain seasons, yard work is also a need.
Elderly and disabled residents looking for assistance can also sign up at https://urcommunitycares.org/home/community_member.
Puzzo gave a presentation to the Town Council last week to help advertise the organization. The council agreed to put links to the UR Community Cares web page on its website.
“We’ve started to get a few volunteers in Southington. We can always use more as we have more people signed up who need the help than people who have signed up who can be volunteers,” Puzzo said.
Coviello signed up last summer. She goes over about once a week, a schedule that works for her and Schmidt.Companionshipand rides
George Schmidt Jr. made the UR Community Cares account for his father, hoping to get someone able to provide companionship.
“She comes and spends some time here, about an hour or so, talks with him, gets him to talk about things instead of sitting in his room and watching TV all day,” George Schmidt Jr. said.
He said it’s also a help to have Coviello take him to the store occasionally and elsewhere when he’s willing.
“It’s definitely a good thing,” George Schmidt Jr. said.
Coviello urged other Southington residents to sign up, saying it’s a tangible way to help neighbors.
“It’s a wonderful program,” she said.
UR Community Cares received a $5,000 grant from the Main Street Community Foundation for the Southington effort. That covers the cost of running the website, conducting background checks on volunteers, insurance and other expenses.