Story by Naomi Hanson
The Warwick Friendly Visitor Program (FVP) took time out of their holiday schedules to thank all of their volunteers who donate their time to support local seniors and help them feel connected to the community. This festive event invited volunteers and members of the Friendly Visitor program to come and celebrate their hard work and the holidays.
Volunteers for the Warwick Friendly Visitor Program care for senior citizens by providing rides, home visits, phone chats and more. All of these gestures go a long way in allowing seniors to live in their homes as long as possible, as well as helping to alleviate the isolation that can come with age.
The program works with the support of the Orange County Office of Aging and the Jewish Family Services. Representatives from both organizations attended the event to thank the volunteers. Jewish Family Services provides many services, including those similar to FVP, and provides support and partnership for the program.
FVP went a long way to make their volunteers feel appreciated by providing food and cake, donated by ShopRite of Warwick, and bringing entertainment. Music was provided by the students of the Florida Union Free School District. Both the band and chorus serenaded the crowd with holiday favorites.
“It makes my heart very warm,” said Louisa Tafuto, a volunteer who spends time with her senior partner doing facials, nails, and crafts.
Tafuto also provides rides and important logistical support. When asked if she would recommend volunteering for the program, Tafuto said, “I would encourage it, I think it’s a great program. I think it’s great to be involved and give back to the community.”
The event included guests such as Assemblyman Karl A. Brabenec and Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton. The event was hosted by the FVP Board Chairperson Vince Copello who very sincerely thanked all the volunteers, organizers and board members that make this possible.
“The services and hours provided by you volunteers has expanded by about 37%…that only in the first 10 months of this year,” said Copello as he shared some of the victories of the volunteers.
“This really is just a great effort of neighbors helping neighbors,” said Supervisor Sweeton. “In Warwick we like to think we care about our neighbors and this shows that we really do.”
With the rising demand, FVP is looking for more volunteers. The program provides training for volunteers. The next training will be held on Mon., Jan. 20 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Warwick Town Hall, located at 132 Kings Hwy. in Warwick. For those interested in becoming a volunteer call, 986-1124, ext. 400, leave name, phone number, and reason for calling.