Seniors who are unable to drive or are house-bound will be excited to learn that they can be transported, door to door and free of charge, to attend Jewish community events and other activities thanks to Wilf Community Connects, a program funded by the Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County (The Jewish Federation in the heart of New Jersey).
Lauren O’Gorman, who serves as the program’s transportation manager at The Oscar and Ella Wilf Campus for Senior Living’s Wilf Transport, said that the program alternates between four synagogues: Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple in New Brunswick, Congregation Beth Mordecai in Perth Amboy, the East Brunswick Jewish Center, and Temple B’nai Shalom in East Brunswick. Plans to expand the service to other community synagogues in underway.
Other partnering agencies include Jewish Family Services of Middlesex, and Wilentz Senior Residence.
O’Gorman noted that while the service is normally provided on Friday evenings, it has expanded as a result of requests for transportation on Saturday mornings and for special events on Sundays and weekday evenings.
“Wherever there is more of a need, that is where we are going,” she said. “More people should take advantage of this free and wonderful service provided by the Federation.”
O’Gorman welcomes providing more mobile opportunities for seniors, including transportation for groups that may want to attend trips to places like shopping centers or other local attractions.
Since its inception in late 2014, Wilf Community Connects has been beneficial for seniors like Edna Coleman and Sue Farber, who hope that other seniors will take part and use the service to help them enjoy the activities around them.
Coleman, who is a member of Anshe Emeth and is unable to drive because of a problem with her vision, said, “It has been a fabulous undertaking. It was so desperately needed. I really respect those who decided to have many of us transported that cannot drive anymore.”
“The service works really well,” she added. “It is organized and everyone is willing to accommodate, very responsible and eager to please. It’s a Godsend and I hope it will expand to transport me to other places too.”
Farber, who is a member of the caring committee at Beth Mordecai, helps her synagogue generate interest in the program.
She shared, “This is a wonderful service that is being provided to the community. The winter was especially terrible for many of us seniors.”
Noting that her synagogue has booked the service for the first Saturday (Shabbas) of each month, especially for all of days of Shavuot, Farber added, “Many of these seniors are in their 80s and early 90s and don’t drive. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to go to services, and temple events.”
Farber believes that, while she has generated interest in the service, she expects it will increase around the upcoming Jewish holidays.
Both Coleman and Farber cited Mark, the driver, as someone who helps them on their journey from start to finish and always makes them feel welcome and secure.
To learn more about the transportation opportunities or sign up to become a member of Wilf Community Connects, contact Lauren O’Gorman at (732) 649-3505 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Oscar and Ella Wilf Campus for Senior Living is comprised of Stein Assisted Living, Jaffa Gate Memory Care Neighborhood, Stein Hospice, Wilentz Senior Residence, Wilf Transport, and The Foundation at the Wilf Campus. For more information, contact us at (732) 568-1155, email@example.com or visit us at www.wilfcampus.org.