HomeHaddonfield NewsInterfaith Caregivers works to keep seniors and those with disabilities living independently

Interfaith Caregivers works to keep seniors and those with disabilities living independently


“It’s more than just a ride.”

Look at the cover of the brochure for Interfaith Caregivers of Haddonfield, and one will find that phrase proudly displayed front and center.

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As the organization’s executive director, Mary Ann Bigelow, describes it, “Our goal is to keep people in their homes, as healthy, vibrantly and with as much dignity as we can.”

That one goal has led the group to where it is today — providing all manner of services over the course of 24 years, free of charge, to seniors 65 years and older and those with disabilities in Haddonfield and Haddon Heights to keep them living as independent members of society.

Whether it’s driving clients to medical appointments, stores or senior centers, or helping clients shop for groceries and running errands, or calling daily to check on a client’s well being, the group’s volunteers consistently work toward meeting the needs of those who are isolated.

“They want to be able to live their lives as they have, as independently as they can,” Bigelow said.

Beyond just the physical needs of clients, Bigelow said the group works to help with the mental well being of those it serves, providing basic human companionship and letting clients know they’re not alone.

“Our volunteers might be the only person they talk to that day,” Bigelow said.

And the response from those who the organization has helped over the years is definite.

Those who visit Bigelow’s office can see an array of thank you cards from clients, oftentimes hand written on beautiful card stock, with words and phrases such as “cherish,” “wonderful,” “patience,” “never forget” and “thank you,” scattered throughout.

One card in particular simply reads “Thank you for caring,” written in such a manner the author clearly had difficulty in physically writing, but chose to do so anyway.

“That sums it up to me,” Bigelow said. “It’s beautiful.”

Other services provided by Interfaith Caregivers include providing meals on a short-term basis to those who might have just returned from the hospital or similar situations, and the group also offers respite care to the family members of clients.

Bigelow said the organization serves about 315 clients, with the group having averaged about 118 assignments per week in 2014.

The group has about 300 volunteers, 200 of whom participate in direct service of clients.

According to Bigelow, volunteers simply pick the time of week or month or year they’re free to help, and pick their assignments through a computer registry.

In addition to working with clients directly, volunteers can also provide office work services, serve on a committee or offer expertise in fund development, public relations, finance and more.

Bigelow said volunteers could be anybody with the time and will to help, including retirees, parents with small children, empty nesters, students or other young professionals.

“We’re easy, we don’t require a certain amount of time … it’s all based on their time and what they can give,” Bigelow said.

Those looking to donate their time or money, or to just learn more about the Interfaith Caregivers, can visit www.ifchaddons.org or call (856) 354–0298.

Donations can also be mailed to Interfaith Caregivers, P.O. Box 186, Haddonfield, NJ 08033, with checks made payable to “Interfaith Caregivers.” Mail inquiries can be forwarded to the same address.

Bigelow said she thanks the houses of worship, foundations, local service organizations, individuals and all those who have been supporting the group over the years, and hopes more might consider joining.

“The results are immediate,” Bigelow said. “You know you’ve made a difference in someone’s life that day.”


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