It all started in the fall of 1976 when a few recent graduates of Columbia University’s social work program saw some older adults sitting on park benches near the University and brought them Hannukah treats. This act of kindness blossomed into DOROT’s Package Delivery Program, which now occurs four times a year in Manhattan and Westchester for Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Winter and Thanksgiving and has impacted tens of thousands of seniors since its inception 45 years ago.
Carrie Jacobs, who has been managing the program for 25 years, gets great satisfaction from all the positive reactions from package recipients and volunteers alike. Carrie has seen the program expand to the East Side and Westchester and that has been extremely gratifying. Each package delivery cycle brings challenges and changes which keep her inspired and motivated. “Package Delivery is about social connections between older adults and volunteers, and I am honored to be a small part of touching so many lives," shared Jacobs.
Pre-COVID-19, packages were delivered to approximately 2,500 older adults annually. Volunteers delivered non-perishable bags of holiday-themed food to seniors, and pre-COVID-19, stayed for an hour visit. During COVID-19, despite several challenges, the program remains robust. Now volunteers and older adults connect via a half-hour phone call after packages are dropped off.
This program is impactful for seniors and volunteers alike and while the package may be the catalyst, the social connections formed are the true purpose.
For more information about volunteering or receiving a package, contact: Cjacobs@dorotusa.org.
Story by Ellen Gold