UR Community Cares helps homebound older adults and persons with physical disabilities navigate COVID-19 impacts
If you don’t already know about UR Community Cares, now is a good time to get acquainted.
Manchester’s innovative non-profit is here to help you, your neighbor or a loved one to:
- Better manage being homebound
- Have groceries or other essentials brought directly to your home
- Get free yard clean-up
- Enjoy a friendly phone chat to avoid feeling isolated
COVID-19 restrictions have left many seniors and disabled residents confined in their homes with fewer connections to the outside world. “We literally want to bring the human experience and a helping hand to the doorstep of our Manchester neighbors who need home assistance at no charge,” pledges Michelle Puzzo, co-founder, who also works as a physical therapist. Her grandmother (pictured) lived to just short of 100 and was inspiration to start the new venture.
URCommunityCares.org is a secure, easy-to-use website that background-checks, verifies and matches up local volunteers with community members in need of household chores, yardwork or companionship. For added peace of mind, all services comply with COVID-19 safety protocols; for example, volunteers provide contactless pick-up and doorstep delivery of groceries, wear masks and comply with social distancing.
Maximum efficiency is another benefit, according to co-founder M.D. Birmingham, a production engineer who oversees the non-profit’s technology system. Community members (or their designee) simply log-in to request their desired “Community Deed” at a specified time, and alerts are sent to available volunteers who respond in real time. By pre-scheduling visits, family caregivers can also use that time as a respite opportunity.
According to Maria Rios, UR Community Cares’ Hometown Hero for Manchester, this new model is a game-changing solution for delivering help directly to people in need. Rios assists community members and volunteers with online enrollment and scheduling, and helps get the
word out to local groups for referrals and sponsorships.
Eligibility for Community Members is age 70 and over or age 18 and over with a temporary or permanent physical disability. Volunteers must be at least 18 (age 15-17 require parental consent). To learn more, visit URCommunityCares.org, email info@URCommunityCares.org or call 860-430-4557.
UR Community Cares continues to expand and currently serves over 60 towns. Participation is free and online donations are encouraged from those who are able. For their work to help Manchester residents, UR Community Cares proudly won a 2020 Cruisin’ On Main Street mini grant.