Safely@Home is busily assisting homeowners in the Bergen County area who can benefit from a caring attitude and a helpful hand. Formerly Bonim Builders, Safely@Home comprises two facets, a volunteer organization performing critical repairs for those in need and a membership program for older adults who want to remain at home safely.
Established in 2002, Safely@Home, a member of The Jewish Home Family, utilizes volunteers for hands-on projects to renovate or perform critical repairs for qualified low-income homeowners and local non-profit agencies within Bergen County. These projects are open to volunteers of all ages and expertise and not only provide much-needed assistance to many homeowners who cannot otherwise handle major renovations, but also offer volunteers a chance to engage in a truly humanitarian experience.
With the holidays upon us, it is an ideal time to think about helping others. Safely@Home is looking for volunteers to help build sukkahs around Bergen County for people who would like to celebrate the holiday but cannot independently build a sukkah. This is a wonderful opportunity for families who want to engage in a charitable activity or even mark a monumental occasion such as a bar or bat mitzvah. Participation in these projects is eye opening for all volunteers but can have a particularly important influence on our youth. The message of incorporating chesed into your daily life and recognizing those less fortunate than you are is one that can be introduced at a very young age and will likely remain a priority throughout life. The sukkah building is scheduled to take place on September 17 and 24.
The mission of Safely@Home is “repairing the world one house at a time.” “There are certain fundamental things we want to make sure everyone has access to, and safe and comfortable shelter is one of those things,” explained Stan Mandelkern, a longstanding volunteer with Safely@Home. And while providing safe and comfortable living conditions is a critical component of the projects, it is also important to showcase the element of generosity inherent in these tasks. Often, people who require the assistance feel quite isolated and lonely. Volunteers bring so much more than a fresh coat of paint or a grab bar to many of the homeowners lives. They offer a sense of compassion and reassurance that is extremely appreciated. “Only after doing this for years did I understand the impact we can have on people’s lives and how valued the work we do is. I can very literally and honestly say that I probably get more as a volunteer being allowed to do this than some of the people get by having the work done,” expressed Mandelkern.
Safely@Home has partnered with other local agencies including Bergen Habitat for Humanity and Bergen Rebuilding Together. Additionally, Safely@Home has done renovations on behalf of the Jewish Association for Developmental Disabilities (J-ADD), Daughters of Miriam Nursing Home, Jewish Family & Children’s Service of North Jersey, Shelter Our Sisters, Strengthen Our Sisters, Bergen’s Housing, Health and Human Services Center, Jewish Home Assisted Living and Family Promise. Recent projects that have been collaborated on include the new Day Center for Family Promise’s new location in Ridgewood. This coming fall, Safely@Home plans to give the Children’s Aid & Family Services in Paramus a complete makeover.
Safely@Home relies on private donors for funding of supplies for renovations. For more information or to volunteer, please contact [email protected] or call 201-518-1175. Donations can be mailed to Safely@Home, 10 Link Drive, Rockleigh, NJ 07647.
The other segment of Safely@Home focuses on its membership program. The membership program was established to essentially offer peace of mind to aging adults who want to remain in their own homes as they enter a more senior stage of life. The program offers services including a home safety analysis, regularly scheduled home maintenance visits, and routine check-in calls. “Studies have shown that minimal investments in home modifications and repairs, coupled with coordinated visits by supportive services such as occupational therapists, nurses and handymen, reduce health risks such as falls and enable the elderly to remain in their homes for a much longer period of time,” explained Stacey Orden, director of Safely@Home. The Safely@Home annual membership program enables older adults to “age in place” in the comfort of their own homes,” she added. The annual membership fee of $500 provides a single point-of-contact for all required emergency service calls, home modifications, repairs and renovations in conjunction with BRAD-CORE Property Management. Safely@Home believes that this program will ensure the comfort and confidence many aging adults require to maintain their current lifestyle. If someone you know has reached this juncture in life, Safely@Home can assist in what is often a major decision for seniors and their loved ones. To learn more please visit www.jewishhomefamily.org/safely.
By Andrea Nissel