Cazenovia On May 15, the second annual appreciation luncheon to honor CRIS-CAT volunteer drivers was held at the Lincklaen House in Cazenovia. Close to 50 volunteers and several Community Resources for Independent Seniors board members gathered to celebrate, share stories and get to know each other better. It proved to be a heart-warming, lively and fun event reflecting the “neighbors-helping-neighbors” nature of this program.
Coordinator of CRIS-CAT, Steve Burrell, spoke about the progress made since its inception just two years ago; to date, volunteer drivers have accumulated more than 20,664 miles, providing 629 rides to seniors in the greater Cazenovia area. These trips have transported seniors to medical offices, grocery stores, banks, libraries, community centers, hair salons, friends’ homes or just on a relaxing ride in the beautiful New York countryside.
Drivers donate their time, vehicle and fuel to provide these trips. Attendee Jon Davidson was acknowledged for his generous contribution of a software program he created that manages the database, scheduling and statistics for CRIS-CAT. Don Crossman donated his time and expertise in creating a professional website for CRIS (callcris.org). The program recently received generous donations as memorial gifts in honor of several individuals who had benefited from the service.
Drivers shared their own stories. One woman talked about the friendship that grew between her and a passenger. They would share weekly lunches with her daughter sometimes joining them. After learning about this man’s life story and sad estrangement for years from a family member, she was instrumental in reuniting the two of them not long before he passed away.
Some drivers commented about how they themselves may need the services of CRIS-CAT in the not-so-distant future. They were grateful for this program’s existence. It could make the difference in whether they remain in their home and community.
Community Resources for Independent Seniors was formed in September 2009 to address the needs of seniors in the greater Cazenovia area. These needs were identified during the Greater Cazenovia Area Chamber of Commerce Senior Housing Feasibility Study focus group meetings and community-wide survey. CRIS-CAT was prioritized as the first service to promote aging in one’s community. This service provides free transportation to residents over 55 of Cazenovia, Nelson and Fenner. Donations are appreciated and are tax deductible.