GUILDERLAND Neighbors volunteering their time to help one another in Altamont eventually expanded to an effort spanning Albany County, with 230 volunteers serving around 500 people.
Community Caregivers is celebrating its 20th anniversary by holding a raffle for a one-of-a-kind gold pendant featuring the nonprofit’s logo of clasped hands forming a heart, which hangs from an 18-inch gold chain. Local jeweler Cindy Crounse, owner of Refined Designs in Voorheesville, designed and donated the dime-sized pendant.
The drawing for the pendant will be held during the organization’s “Neighbors Helping Neighbors Day” appreciation reception Friday afternoon, Sept. 26, at Crossgates. All proceeds from the raffle benefit Community Caregivers.
Kathy Burbank, executive director of Community Caregivers, said volunteers perform a wide variety of services for clients. Any non-medical service is offered, and transportation to doctor appointments is the most common need.
Three Altamont residents — Joel Edwards, Vic Ross and Mary Therriault — founded the organization, originally known as Altamont Community Caregivers, implementing the “parish nurse” concept of care. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation awarded the nonprofit a grant the year it was formerly founded, which kickstarted the initiative.
Through additional grants and community donations, the group expanded its pool of volunteers and began serving outside of the village, and over time stretched into the Hilltowns and suburbs in Albany County. Two years ago, it started serving the City of Albany on a limited basis.
Burbank said the longevity of the organization speaks positively about the county.
“I think it shows people care about neighbors in their community,” said Burbank. “Research shows 65 percent of people or more volunteer, so we are an organization that provides a lot of opportunities and staff that can work it out for people on their schedules. That is what’s unique about us.”
The expanded organization has three full-time and three part-time paid staff members to help manage volunteer coordination and efforts.