NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - New Providence- Our Community For All, a new nonprofit group, recently was awarded a grant in the amount of $74,000 from The Grotta Fund for Senior Care. The new organization, working under the nonprofit umbrella of the well-established Community Service Organization, will focus its work on supporting seniors aging well in the community of New Providence.  

The grant work will be led by the group’s Executive Director, Patricia Swan Jacobs, who moved to New Providence in 2014 to be the founding Executive Director of the senior community, Lantern Hill. "The board of New Providence- Our Community For All is made up of Councilman Pete DeSarno and two well-respected local residents, Bill Hoefling and Tom Montrone," said Jacobs. 

The idea for this initiative was developed through the Community Enhancement and Economic Development Committee of New Providence, with the full support of Borough Council and Mayor Al Morgan. Originally the grant work was designed to enhance the assets of New Providence in support of seniors today and in the future. It was focused on both short-term projects to benefit our seniors today and long-term investigative work to plan projects for the future. 

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The arrival of the pandemic changed this focus, and the grant work is currently focused on several strategies for supporting seniors in town during this unprecedented episode.  

"The first effort the group will undertake is to create a corps of volunteers that will help seniors shop for groceries," said Jacobs. "Volunteers helping out in this way will limit trips out of the house for our most vulnerable population. This work has already begun, in cooperation with the Senior Center of New Providence, under the program name Senior Buddies." 

Borough staff reached out to all members of the Senior Center and arranged wellness check phone calls for any seniors wanting a consistent phone touchpoint. "Everyone needing grocery shopping help was referred to New Providence- Our Community For All," she said.  

Anyone in New Providence who would like a regular wellness call should reach out to the Senior Center at 908-665-0046 or email SeniorBuddies@newprov.org .  To arrange for grocery shopping help please directly contact New Providence, Our Community For All  at 732-535-8441 or email NewProvidenceOCFA@gmail.com.  To volunteer to shop for others please email the volunteer coordinator at chanda_belle@hotmail.com or call 908-451-3331.  

The next effort the group will undertake will be getting helpful information in the hands of seniors who do not use the internet. "Information about many programs and services for older adults have shifted to being accessible almost exclusively in electronic formats, and much of our local news is only available online. Some seniors could benefit from having paper copies of service and program descriptions or news and information, accompanied by phone numbers for follow-up access. This will make it easier to reach the right borough department, the right nonprofit organization offering help, or even a local restaurant that is delivering meals. Volunteers are needed to support this US mail outreach effort as well. If you have time and energy to help please email NewProvidenceOCFA@gmail.com."  

The coalition of community members working to support these efforts are very grateful to The Grotta Fund for Senior Care for their flexibility in the use of grant monies for New Providence seniors. "Through their generosity, many seniors will be able to connect to support to weather this pandemic safely at home, with the services, supplies and information they need," said Jacobs. The group is also very grateful to the volunteers that have already stepped forward to help and is ready to welcome many more.  To get involved in our larger efforts to make New Providence a great place to grow up and grow old, today and in the future, please email NewProvidenceOCFA@gmail.com, or call 732-535-8441.