Chore Service keeps community strong


 


SHARON - A collective effort that works toward filling the many needs of the community, the Chore Service knows how to roll up its sleeves and use a bit of elbow grease to get the job done.

From indoor work, such as cleaning, arranging furniture and minor repairs, to outside chores, including snow shoveling, carpentry and landscaping, the Chore Service employs personnel who are equipped to do most any job come rain, sleet, snow or sunshine.

The service, which just celebrated its 15th year, is available to residents in the towns of North Canaan, Cornwall, Falls Village, Kent, Norfolk and Salisbury in addition to Sharon, but its focus is on helping the elderly and disabled.


Helping elders remain at home


"Our main objective is to keep people independent and in the community," said Ella Clark, Sharon's social service agent and coordinator of the Chore Service. "It provides a way for people who are unable to perform these essential tasks on their own to stay in their own homes."

Clark started the program back in 1992 because some older families were at risk. They had given up state home care services after the state implemented the requirement that a lien be placed on their property.

One 79-year-old Chore Service client said in a letter that, "What it boils down to is the Chore Service lets me keep my home, and that is where I am happiest."

According to Clark, over half of the service's clients are 80 or over, while 12 percent are 90 or over. Two thirds are women. "Because," as Clark put it, "we live longer and poorer than men."

Original funding for the service was provided by a grant from the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation. It is now partially funded by a federal grant from the Western Connecticut Area Agency on Aging. This subsidy, along with other grants and donations from individuals, towns and corporations, make it possible for Chore Service clients to pay a "suggested contribution" toward a service which, if provided on the open market, would cost $20 or more per hour.

For example, a single person with an income of about $1,100 a month would be asked to offer $7 per hour for any work that has been performed.

The Chore Service tries to ensure that at least 90 percent of the money it spends is used to pay for services; in 2007, 92 percent of an available $303,000 went to pay for services.

Last fiscal year, the service helped 195 families across its seven-town area of operation.

The community also benefits from the Chore Service because it creates part-time jobs for area residents, who earned over $220,000 last fiscal year, at $12.50 an hour plus mileage.

However, Clark says the service does more than just provide jobs and labor.

"Many workers and clients form close friendships," Clark said during an interview at her office on Friday. "And for some of our clients, the worker is their primary link to the outside world."

To find out more about the Chore Service, contact Ella Clark at 860-364-1003 or e-mail her at ellaclark@sharon-ct.org. A Web site for the Chore Service is expected to be up and running by April at choreservice.org.

 

 

Latest News

Walking among the ‘Herd’

Michel Negroponte

Betti Franceschi

"Herd,” a film by Michel Negroponte, will be screening at The Norfolk Library on Saturday April 13 at 5:30 p.m. This mesmerizing documentary investigates the relationship between humans and other sentient beings by following a herd of shaggy Belted Galloway cattle through a little more than a year of their lives.

Negroponte and his wife have had a second home just outside of Livingston Manor, in the southwest corner of the Catskills, for many years. Like many during the pandemic, they moved up north for what they thought would be a few weeks, and now seldom return to their city dwelling. Adjacent to their property is a privately owned farm and when a herd of Belted Galloways arrived, Negroponte realized the subject of his new film.

Keep ReadingShow less
Fresh perspectives in Norfolk Library film series

Diego Ongaro

Photo submitted

Parisian filmmaker Diego Ongaro, who has been living in Norfolk for the past 20 years, has composed a collection of films for viewing based on his unique taste.

The series, titled “Visions of Europe,” began over the winter at the Norfolk Library with a focus on under-the-radar contemporary films with unique voices, highlighting the creative richness and vitality of the European film landscape.

Keep ReadingShow less
New ground to cover and plenty of groundcover

Young native pachysandra from Lindera Nursery shows a variety of color and delicate flowers.

Dee Salomon

It is still too early to sow seeds outside, except for peas, both the edible and floral kind. I have transplanted a few shrubs and a dogwood tree that was root pruned in the fall. I have also moved a few hellebores that seeded in the near woods back into their garden beds near the house; they seem not to mind the few frosty mornings we have recently had. In years past I would have been cleaning up the plant beds but I now know better and will wait at least six weeks more. I have instead found the most perfect time-consuming activity for early spring: teasing out Vinca minor, also known as periwinkle and myrtle, from the ground in places it was never meant to be.

Planting the stuff in the first place is my biggest ever garden regret. It was recommended to me as a groundcover that would hold together a hillside, bare after a removal of invasive plants save for a dozen or so trees. And here we are, twelve years later; there is vinca everywhere. It blankets the hillside and has crept over the top into the woods. It has made its way left and right. I am convinced that vinca is the plastic of the plant world. The stuff won’t die. (The name Vinca comes from the Latin ‘vincire’ which means ‘to bind or fetter.’) Last year I pulled a bunch and left it strewn on the roof of the root cellar for 6 months and the leaves were still green.

Keep ReadingShow less
Matza Lasagne by 'The Cook and the Rabbi'

Culinary craftsmanship intersects with spiritual insights in the wonderfully collaborative book, “The Cook and the Rabbi.” On April 14 at Oblong Books in Rhinebeck (6422 Montgomery Street), the cook, Susan Simon, and the rabbi, Zoe B. Zak, will lead a conversation about food, tradition, holidays, resilience and what to cook this Passover.

Passover, marked by the traditional seder meal, holds profound significance within Jewish culture and for many carries extra meaning this year at a time of great conflict. The word seder, meaning “order” in Hebrew, unfolds in a 15-step progression intertwining prayers, blessings, stories, and songs that narrate the ancient saga of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery. It’s a narrative that has endured for over two millennia, evolving with time yet retaining its essence, a theme echoed beautifully in “The Cook and the Rabbi.”

Keep ReadingShow less