By Ed Vilade
The Holiday season is over — how did you do? Get all your shopping done? All your gifts wrapped? All your cards sent? Or did you, like many of us, run out of time? Many Riderwood residents were lucky — they were given the gift of time by the 300 or so community-spirited volunteers who make up Neighbors in Deed.
Neighbors in Deed was founded in 2014 by residents Peggy Kane and Susie Grace, with the support of Volunteer Coordinator Judy Felsenfeld and Manager Fiona Divecha. Peggy and Susie enlisted the aid of Alan Mayers to get the word out to potential volunteers. The program has grown to include 28 categories, from Appliance Care to Writing, with many volunteers listed in several categories.
Many Neighbors help their neighbors on a routine basis, with such tasks as running errands, wakeup calls, visits during illness, picking up meals and shopping. The volunteers are listed according to their residence in the four independent-living neighborhoods, to ensure that they match up with someone nearby.
Peggy says that she has no idea of the frequency with which those needing help connect with volunteers, since the idea of the program is direct contact, without a middleman.
She does know that volunteers are most sorely needed in the areas of computers and electronics, walking and caring for dogs, electronics, gardening, and translation.
‘”Volunteers in computers and electronics get called all the time, and we’d really like to have more,” said Susie. “And while we might get one call a year for Chinese translation, for example, when it’s needed it’s usually very important.”
They credit Dave Dillon with developing the computer programs that help keep the list current, but add that keeping it up-to-date remains the biggest problem in sustaining the group. Some volunteers may no longer be able to perform their duties, and when that is the case, Peggy asks that they contact her at 301-593-8699, or email at
email@example.com so the list can be updated. Prospective volunteers can reach her at those same contact numbers.
Riderwood’s Resident Services and Volunteer departments are also stepping up their involvement, with plans in the works to assist in updating the list and attracting volunteers. Meanwhile, Neighbors in Deed forms are available in Resident Services Coordinators’ offices.
All involved hope that more Riderwood residents will involve themselves in giving, or receiving, the gift of time.