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language by reading the Bible
together. “Your interaction
through the Bergen Volunteer
Center is personal,” she says.
While CHORE volunteers do handiwork,
CHEER volunteers do grocery
shopping and other errands for
homebound seniors. Recently,
BVC began enlisting develop-
mentally disabled young adults
as CHORE volunteers. “Talk
about really utilizing all the
human capital and talent in a
community,” says Algrant.
Algrant got involved
“We’re a small but mighty organization
with the BVC by serving as
the seminar director for Bergen LEADS, a
10-month community learning and leadership
program. Students speak with community
leaders and complete a service project.
[that’s] really touching lives in a way that
builds for the future,” says Algrant.
“We’re a small but mighty organization [that’s] really touching lives.”
—Lynne Algrant, CEO
SPOTLIGHT ON » BERGENVOLUNTEERS.ORG
Something to Grab Onto
From installing stability rails for seniors to helping with
grocery shopping, the Bergen Volunteer Center is hands-on.
The Bergen Volunteer
Center turns caring
into meaningful action
by improving lives and
in 1966 by the Junior
League of Bergen
County and a group of
residents who saw the
need for a clearing-house matching volunteers with agencies that
201-489-9454 or visit
Fifth Friday forum: a
public policy luncheon
series. The next forum
will be held in January.
Family Volunteer Day:
May 20, MEVO Fresh
Roots Farm, Mahwah.
lynne algrant, CEO of the Hackensack-based
Bergen Volunteer Center (BVC), remembers a
cheerful letter she received from a senior citizen
after the BVC’s CHORE service installed banisters in his home. It read, “I’ve seen parts of my
house that I haven’t seen in 15 years!” CHORE is
a free handyperson service for seniors and disabled adults. Last year, nearly 1,500 clients were
served and more than 1,600 grab bars installed.
Founded 52 years ago, BVC’s original intent
was to match “people that wanted to volunteer
and organizations that needed them,” says
Algrant, an Englewood resident. BVC maintains
that role through its online Get Connected
database, but now operates its own volunteer
initiatives, including CHORE, CHEER, Mentoring Youth and Mentoring Moms, as well as several civic engagement programs (Bergen LEADS,
College LEADS, Teen LEADS).
At holiday time, BVC wraps
itself around All Wrapped Up,
a gift-giving service matching
donors with low-income individuals and families. Last year,
gifts were given to 3,500 people.
In 2017, volunteers gave
more than 21,000 hours of
service through BVC, which
has just 12 full-time employees.
“This mini army of volunteers
doubles the capacity of what we’re able to do,”
A few years ago, Hackensack resident
Phillicia DaCosta, now a BVC employee, began
volunteering through BVC’s Mentoring Moms
program, which offers friendship and support
to mothers. DaCosta’s mentee is working on
improving her English, so they practice the
from the 2016