JACKSON – Just as birthdays come once a year, so does the special fundraiser for the Adopt-A-Senior organization.
The group’s director, Margaret Morris told The Jackson Times, “Our yearly fundraiser in Jackson at the Columbian Hall on Bartley Road was a big success. So many wonderful people came out to support us from the local community, as well as the facilities we visit each month.”
The event not only raised funds it also raised awareness about Adopt-a-Senior and “what we do, how successful the organization is and the opportunities that exist for people within the community to help us make sure that our seniors are never forgotten,” Morris added.
“We had about 90 guests who helped to support our mission of making sure the seniors living in our local long-term healthcare facility should never, ever be forgotten. We would never have what we do today without our seniors,” she said.
She recalled a special senior in her own life. “My Babci (Polish for grandma) inspired me with her values, appreciating every single generation before me, how important they were and are and how we need to make sure we continue to respect, honor, and continue to always appreciate our seniors.”
“Annye (Cohen) created Adopt-a-Senior based on her Grandpa Izzy and those same values. Not everyone is fortunate to have family and friends to visit them; especially when living in long-term facilities. Our organization and volunteers truly love our seniors and want to make sure each and every senior feels loved, special, and never, ever forgotten about,” Morris added.
“The more recognition and volunteers we can get will truly help us to continue to succeed in our mission of making sure our seniors living in long-term healthcare facilities are not forgotten and allow us the opportunity of adding more long-term facilities to our monthly visits and surprising the seniors with gifts, love, and appreciation for who they are and all they have given to each and every life they have impacted; whether they know it or not.”
The organization formed in 2014. It is an extension of the very successful Adopt-A-Senior Holiday Program that started over 20 years ago at a facility in Manhattan. Under the leadership of Annye Cohen and Bill Cowen, the mission for this non-profit is to provide gifts to as many seniors living in long-term care facilities as possible.
“We have grown to now work with The Orchards in Jackson, Sunrise of Jackson, Sunrise Brighton Gardens of Middletown, The Grand in Whitestone, Queens, CareOne of Jackson, Bartley Healthcare, CareOne of East Brunswick and Applewood Estates,” Cohen said.
She added that in 2022, “we started working with Sunrise of Marlboro.” The concept for the organization is in honor her grandfather, Izzy Cohen, who taught her that it is important for people to always ‘give back’ and help others.
When Cohen began to volunteer at Kateri Residence over a decade ago, she quickly learned that many seniors in the home had no family and more importantly, no visitors. Hence many of the seniors in the facility did not have anyone to celebrate their birthday nor anyone to share the holidays with.
She worked with the staff at the residence and the Adopt-A-Senior program was born.
Cowen was also inspired to ‘give back’ at a young age. He has co-chaired and volunteered at many fundraisers for numerous non-profit organizations. After meeting Annye many years ago, the two realized they had the same goal of helping seniors.
Cowen became very involved in the Adopt-A-Senior Holiday program and his involvement helped to make this program very successful.
“This year we honored Heather McLaughlin with the Frank Mesto Recognition Award and Christopher Connors was our Junior Volunteer of the Year,” Cohen said. “We had over 150 raffle baskets and more than 90 attendees. Lunch was sandwiches from Jersey Mike’s of Jackson and cupcakes from Stop & Shop of Jackson.”
“It was a huge success and next year we celebrate 10 years,” Cohen added. For more information on how to get involved with the Adopt A Senior organization visit adopt-a-senior.org, e-mail email@example.com, call 347-365-0633 or write to Adopt-A-Senior, 86 Brookfield Drive, Jackson, NJ 08527.