Since 2004, Neighbor to Neighbor has provided assistance to residents of the Northshire communities of Southern Vermont.
Neighbor to Neighbor was established in 2004 to address the unmet needs of our older, disabled, and housebound residents allowing them age in place as long as possible. Our goal is to reach everyone who needs assistance regardless of age or economic status. Currently, we offer non-medical assistance with activities such as transportation, friendly visits, running errands, food shopping, and other small tasks. We also offer social activities that keep people connected to each other, their volunteer, and the community at large. Since the program began, volunteers have given over 40,000 hours of their time assisting older folks throughout the 10 Northshire communities we serve. All of our services are offered free of charge. We do an annual appeal, fundrasiers, and grant writing to cover our expenses.
Our work has revealed that living alone and at home may often appear to be “independence,” but frequently results in profound loneliness and isolation. It soon became evident that the personal companionship of a volunteer, although important, was not enough, so social activities were added. These events give our care recipients an opportunity to interact with their peers, volunteers, and the community. It also gives our older folks a greater sense of well-being knowing help is available if needed. Our volunteers provide all the transportation, and Neighbor to Neighbor provides a luncheon and entertainment.
We also collaborate with local school and youth groups. This intergenerational programming is a win for everyone. It allows our older folks to interact with younger students while teaching our young people the importance of volunteering and community service.