May 23, 2024
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Spotlight on Bikur Cholim Of Bergen County

Our communities should be proud of the many chesed organizations available to us. They offer a variety of services to anyone who needs them, and they give willingly, selflessly and always with the utmost respect and regard for privacy and confidentiality if required. In this issue we will feature Bikur Cholim of Bergen County.

Please describe the services your organization provides and the population that it services.

Hotline: Helping patients and families navigate the hospitals and help with access to Jewish community needs in the hospital and local facilities.

Hospitality apartments: Suites near Hackensack University Hospital. Available seven days a week. Hospitality for family members of anyone in a Bergen County medical facility who needs to be in the area, or patients receiving treatment in one of the local medical facilities (for example HUMC, HNH, Englewood Hospital, Valley Hospital, Kessler Saddle Brook, Specialty Select). The apartments are fully stocked with all Shabbos supplies as well as all comforts of home that make our families feel supported.

Caregiver care package: We distribute gift packages with a variety of self-care products to community members who are involved in caring for an ill loved one.

Medical equipment gemach: The medical equipment gemach operates out of the West Englewood section of Teaneck and is available to all Bergen County residents and their visiting family members. Our purpose is to support our community members with an easily accessible and convenient way to obtain medical equipment all year long. Our inventory includes new and used wheelchairs, knee scooters, walkers and canes.

Meal Train: We provide meals to families facing medical crises or adjusting to a hospital or rehab discharge. All meals are delivered, and arrangements can be made if anonymity is requested.

Transportation: Rides are arranged for people to help get to local medical appointments and treatments.

Who is eligible for your programs?

Anyone who reaches out we try to assist.

Are your services anonymous?

We are very sensitive to privacy. All of our services are confidential unless requested otherwise.

Please share an anecdote that highlights the work of Bikur Cholim.

Each area of service that we provide brings relief to families in different ways. Three examples:

A man in his 50s was on a ventilator suffering from ALS and was physically failing but mentally alert. We arranged for men to come and put on tefillin and read the parsha to him. We also provided meals for his caregiver. Prior to a chag one of our volunteers entertained him by playing guitar at his bedside.

A man from a non-local Jewish community was having a kidney transplant in one of the local hospitals. His wife is blind and wanted to be close to the hospital to visit with him daily. The woman and her son stayed in one of the Bikur Cholim apartments which we accommodate to her special needs and as a result she was able to go daily to be with her husband. Once discharged her husband stayed with her in the apartment for a week so that he could go to his follow-up appointments at the hospital.

A family of four from out of town relocated temporarily to the Bergen County area to be able to take their husband/father to daily cancer treatments at Columbia Hospital. They were far away from friends and family and spent long, difficult days at this bedside. Each day the family returned to a home-cooked dinner delivered to their apartment by our volunteers.

What aspect of your work would you like this community to know about that is perhaps not obvious, or misconceptions that you would like to correct?

Always feel free to reach out to us. If we are unable to assist you we can usually direct you to other organizations who are able to. We have many organizations and people that we collaborate with.

How and when did the organization get started?

B.C. began more than 25 years ago. The leadership has expanded with the needs of the community and presently is commandeered by many local women in the community.

What volunteer opportunities, if any, can community members sign up for?

We hope you will join us in performing the mitzvah of bikur cholim by volunteering for one or more of the following opportunities. You can be of great help by offering your time and energy either on a regular basis or occasionally. Please email or call our hotline to join our team of volunteers. Adults over the age of 18.

Some opportunities include:

  • Be on call: Helping BCBC with needs that may arise.
  • Meal Train: Preparing and delivering meals for families with critical medical needs
  • Transportation: Assisting and transporting people to medical appointments.
  • Hospitality suite assistance: Help set up apartments ahead of Shabbos and chagim and help check inventory and stocking food.

By Jewish Link Staff

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