SUMMIT, NJ - As people age, it becomes quite difficult to do some of the routine things that others take for granted. For the past 25 years, Senior Connections Inc. has been giving seniors in Summit a way to get out and about.
It is a non-profit providing safe, comfortable and reliable transportation for seniors in Summit. The group started in 1987, initially funded by a grant from the Junior League of Summit, Novartis and the City of Summit. Over the years, operations have been supported by private donations, the Annual Spring Luncheon and fashion show and the Union County Community Development Block Program.
In 2011, the volunteers running it couldn’t adequately staff its administrative operations and they asked the City of Summit to assist. Summit then proposed to utilize the Dept. of Community Programs. They then assigned a team of board members to organize record keeping, payroll, phone support and office services. They schedule transportation, the maintenance for the buses, promotions and work with SAGE Eldercare.
One of the recent appointees to the Board is Summit resident, Dr. Miles MacMahon, who has been named president. McMahon, who was a physics professor for several years at Essex County College before retiring, said he really enjoys what he's doing now.
“I retired and started looking for something to do, so I started volunteering,” he said. “The purpose is to get people out in the community.”
He has embraced his role as president, he said. Along with the efforts of his team, the organization is thriving, McMahon said. McMahon, who served on the Senior Connections board for five years, has been volunteering in the senior community for the past decade.
The bus picks people up at their homes and brings them to different locations. On Mondays and Thursdays it brings them to ShopRite and Kings, on Wednesdays to the Short Hills and Livingston malls and Tuesdays and Fridays to downtown Summit and city sites. The bus takes 60 trips a week and individuals just need to call 908-273-0088 before 8 a.m. the same day to be picked up.
Recently, they have also started going to Trader Joe’s in Westfield and A&P in New Providence. Additionally, the bus also drops people off at SAGE Eldercare, where seniors can spend the day interacting with others of their age.
“It’s a really important service,” he said.
He stressed this organization does not cost the taxpayers or the City of Summit anything. But, because seniors aren’t on Facebook or Twitter like younger Americans, it can be tough to get people involved, he said.
However, MacMahon does his best to publicize the service by posting flyers in the community. He is also working with the YMCA and other venues to hold special events for the group. He hopes more people use the service and sees it as a great opportunity for Summit's seniors.