Batavia launches 'Community Care' program for seniors, residents with disabilities

 
 
Updated 4/8/2020 2:21 PM

Batavia has launched an initiative to help seniors and residents with disabilities during the coronavirus pandemic.

Through the Community Care program, the city acts as at "matchmaker" to connect those in need with volunteers willing to complete essential errands, such as delivering food, buying toiletries or picking up medicine, city Administrator Laura Newman said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The concept stemmed from a proposal brought forth last week by Rhonda Klecz, who has gotten to know Batavia's most vulnerable community members through her role as a code enforcement officer.

"She's very worried about them right now," Newman said, "so she wanted to find a way for the city to help."

Around the same time, retired city employee John Dillon approached Newman about a community caretaker program that was implemented in Wilmette.

With his help, officials reached out to groups that could start a similar program, particularly Batavia RSVP and Batavia United Way.

In addition to assisting residents, Newman said, Batavia Community Care gives the city's receptionist a new responsibility -- receiving and responding to the program's calls and emails -- while service levels are otherwise low. She and Klecz then help coordinate residents' needs with the volunteers.

Officials also intend to take a proactive approach by reaching out to participants in the city's Ride in Kane program, which offers public transportation services at a reduced rate for seniors and residents with disabilities.

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Larger-scale services such as shelter or financial assistance don't fall into the program's purview, though residents with those needs can call 211 to be connected with an agency that can help.

Batavia Community Care went live Monday. Eligible residents can reach the city at (630) 454-CARE or by emailing communitycare@cityofbatavia.net.

Anyone interested in volunteering can send their phone number, address, organization and availability to the same email address.

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