Chautauqua County Outreach volunteer Mary Powers, left, and Eileen Nowak, director of Catholic Charities' Parish Outreach and Advocacy Department.
Catholic Charities' Chautauqua County Outreach recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary of providing respite care and friendship to homebound seniors and nursing home residents in the county. A luncheon to thank the volunteers was held to mark the milestone.
Formed in 2007, the small group of nine volunteers began visiting residents at two local nursing homes. Today, the Chautauqua County Outreach program has grown into a larger ministry, as it now has volunteers providing respite services at Absolut Care in Westfield, Heritage Green Rehab and Skilled Nursing Facility in Greenhurst, Heritage Village Skilled Nursing Facility in Gerry, and the private homes of shut-in seniors.
During their visits, the volunteers help with activities, bring in treats for the residents, play music or sing, lead in praying the rosary, take them out to lunch or doctor appointments, and assist in a myriad of ways.
From February 2007 through March 2017, the Chautauqua County Outreach volunteers have amassed 17,508 hours of service. Volunteers estimate that they have served more than 450 people.
While many hands have made the Chautauqua County Outreach the thriving program it is today, many attribute its success and longevity to Mary Powers, who has led the Outreach group since its inception and was honored at the recent event. Volunteers in the program credit Powers with not only organizing and leading it, but with cultivating the group. She encourages volunteers to bring her recommendations of people who would have the heart and the time for the ministry.
"Just like the volunteers she seeks, Mary has a caring, kind heart and a generous spirit to give her time to others," said Eileen Nowak, director of Catholic Charities' Department of Parish Outreach and Advocacy. "Her last name is Powers, and she has shown she is a powerful woman to keep this program alive over these past 10 years. We thank her for her hard work and dedication, and we thank all of the volunteers who have followed in her footsteps and have given their time and friendship. Your gift to others is immeasurable."
For more information on the Chautauqua County Outreach program, visit ccwny.org/chautauqua-county-outreach or call (716) 218-1400, ext. 2005.
Catholic Charities offers a wide range of services in Chautauqua County. Services are available in Dunkirk at 425 Main St. and in Jamestown at 560 West 3rd St., Westgate Plaza, Suite 15. These services include basic assistance; counseling for individuals, couples and families; Domestic Violence Offenders program; and Our Kids: Parent Education and Awareness Program. In October 2015, Catholic Charities became the provider of the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition program in Chautauqua County, operating out of five sites including 326 Central Ave., Dunkirk; 200 Harrison St., Jamestown; 58 S. Portage St., Westfield; 35 Park Place, Silver Creek; and 113 Church St., Sherman. In Dunkirk, the office has created a mentor program with high school students, exposing them to the human service environment and gaining them job skills.
Catholic Charities has helped individuals and families in need since its founding in 1923. That need is varied and widespread - from emergency assistance to counseling and from specialized services for the elderly to help with job training and education. Catholic Charities empowers children, families and seniors to achieve meaningful, healthy and productive lives. In all situations, Catholic Charities delivers support to meet immediate needs, and then assess its clients for other needs to ensure long-term success.
Catholic Charities is an excellent steward of the contributions it receives. Catholic Charities receives the highest-possible rating (four stars) from Charity Navigator for transparency and sound fiscal management. Catholic Charities also receives the highest ratings from the Council on Accreditation for quality service.