On Sunday, March 22nd, a group of Engage members joined a large intergenerational contingent of volunteers for an annual Passover package delivery effort—coordinated through DOROT, one of our partner organizations.

DOROT is the Hebrew word for “generations.” Since 1976, its mission has been to bring generations together to enhance the lives of the elderly. With over 6,000 volunteers complementing its professional staff, DOROT is able to serve the Jewish and wider communities through their Friendly Visitor Program, wellness and educational programs, meal delivery, escorts to doctor appointments, and other types of assistance with daily living—helping seniors live safely and independently at home for as long as possible.

The annual Passover package brings traditional foods and holiday items delivered by a volunteer who visits with the home-bound senior for approximately one hour. The visitor delivers the holiday package and takes note of how the senior is doing, while bringing them a sense of being part of a larger, caring, community.

I spoke with Suzanne Rockman, the Engage liaison with DOROT. She has been involved with DOROT for many years, and has bonded with one Upper West Side senior whom she has visited for seven years, even getting to know their family members. She finds great pleasure in the strong relationship that has been created, and is currently involved in getting more Engage members to join this worthwhile volunteer effort. She notes that volunteering can be a family activity—and children are welcome too.

Valerie Alter, a new Engage volunteer, appreciates the flexibility of the program. She works full-time and lives outside the city, but is still able to volunteer. So far, Valerie has visited two home-bound seniors. She enjoys getting to learn about their various backgrounds (one lady from Poland spoke little English, but was able to communicate with family photos; the other, a Russian Holocaust survivor and refugee, was eager to relate her life story).

It seems that for the seniors, whether it is a one-time visit or an ongoing relationship, the joy and appreciation is palpable—creating a great feeling of satisfaction for our Engage Jewish Service Corps volunteers as they continue to expand their reach as community builders.