B'ville Outreach Program vital to community

Barb Rachetta 06/25/10More articles
If there ever was a program dedicated to its community, it’s the Outreach Program at Canton Woods Senior Center, which provides services of outreach and home care coordination for people 60 years of age and older.

The main goal is to develop effective ways of providing needed support to the isolated, elderly persons to help them remain independent members of the community. These services encompass many aspects, which include but are not limited to: companionship, employment, energy grants, food sources, home health care, nursing homes, prescriptions, recreation, support groups, social activities, and the list goes on and on.

The two indispensable Outreach Workers who run the program are Judy Laurange and Donna Metz, along with Ruth Troy and Joan Ferstler, director and assistant director (respectively) of Canton Woods whom Laurange and Metz speak highly of.

“We try to keep people in their own homes instead of nursing homes by accessing services available to them, like food stamps, therapies, Meals On Wheels and exercise programs,” said Laurange, who has been with Outreach for 16 years.

Metz, who’s been with Outreach five years in July, added, “We do home visits to help with things like filling out paperwork to those who can’t read or who have dementia. They need someone to advocate for them at times.”

Laurange is in charge of the Baldwinsville Express, a transportation service that takes reservations for rides and gets volunteer drivers to take seniors to the doctor, pharmacy, grocery store, Canton Woods, or wherever. The volunteers also pay for their own gas.

“These people are saints,” Laurange said. “Our volunteers don’t want to take money. They take them extra places and wait for them. They are amazing.”

Laurange also talks about PEACE, which stands for Peoples Equal Action Community Effort. “PEACE offers help to many young people and their families who are in need,” she said.

PEACE offers a nutrition program, sponsors 20 scholarship programs for summer camp, has a Head Start Program, and is implementing a “Big Brother” mentor program.

Metz heads up Meals On Wheels Inc. at Canton Woods Senior Center and is there until 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, then heads over to Outreach for the rest of the day. The Baldwinsville Meals On Wheels Mission includes dedication to excellence as they care for the nutritional well being of those who request their services. Their nutritional service is providing balanced meals, an essential component for many people so they can remain in their homes and community.

Baldwinsville Meals On Wheels has 115 active volunteers and services Liverpool and Baldwinsville. The meals are cooked at Canton Woods five days a week and they service about 110 clients daily with no age restriction.

“We are not government run,” Metz said. “We are supported by the community through grants and fundraisers. We get a nice response to our main fundraiser in November.”

Laurange and Metz also mentioned Food Sense, an Outreach program run through the food bank that is open to anyone and has no income restrictions, Safe Link, which provides a free cell phone for anyone who qualifies, and a Farmers Market coupon. If that wasn’t enough, Laurange and Metz even provide assistance for legal services at Canton Woods.

“Some people have financial problems that they need help with,” Laurange said.

There’s even a Parkinson’s Support Group and one for the visually or hearing impaired called Aurora.

“We had one for cancer and one for diabetes, but they didn’t get enough supporters,” Laurange said.

“There’s nothing we don’t do. We do just about everything!” Metz added with a smile. “Many seniors get set in their ways and don’t realize they have alternatives. That’s why we are here. Outreach isn’t just nine to five Monday through Friday. We’ve done things on evenings and weekends. Anywhere we go we end up helping or referring someone.”

“We answer to a lot of people!” Metz joked, but in reality, they really do.

Judy Laurange. left, and Donna Metz are the Outreach workers at Canton Woods Senior Center.

CATEGORY: General Society
EDITION: Baldwinsville Messenger

Rating: 1.7/5 (6 votes cast)

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