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Chore Service agencies consolidate to serve 13 towns

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LAKEVILLE—A recent consolidation of Chore Service and Litchfield Hills Chore Service has created opportunities for more service for Kent residents, according to Jane MacLaren, executive director. The service provides in-home, non-medical assistance to the elderly and people with disabilities so they can remain in their homes.

“The Kent area is just exploding,” McLaren said, adding that seven or eight workers serve clients in the town and more are needed. 

“We’re looking to grow our work force so we have good representation in each town,” added Program Coordinator Kristen Orr. “We’re looking for new, wonderful, committed employees.”

MaryAnn Packard, who is employed by Chore Service, cleans one of her client’s apartments at Templeton Farms Apartments. She has worked for the organization for four years and has clients in three different towns. Photo by Lynn Mellis Worthington

Chore does not provide personal care, but rather offers assistance with such things as light housekeeping, meal preparation and companionship. Chore workers will also drive clients to stores and doctor appointments, do minor household repairs and outdoor tasks such as weeding and raking. 

“Every year we have to look at how to attact more workers and increases wages,” said MacLaren. 

Chore workers go through training about sexual harassment and elder abuse and receive a certificate. There is a staff training session once a quarter. The average client receives two to four hours of assistance a week. 

“Just that little bit makes it possible for them to stay in their own homes,” said MacLaren.

In the past, Chore Service in Salisbury served the towns of Canaan, Cornwall, Falls Village, Kent, Norfolk, Sharon and Salisbury. The consolidation with Litchfield Hills Chore Service adds Goshen, Litchfield, Morris, Roxbury, Warren and Washington.

Together, the consolidated organization supports 250 seniors and people with disabilities in 13 towns, regardless of their ability to pay for needed services, and employs 45 full and part-time local workers.

“We were contacted last fall by [Acting Executive Director of Litchfield Hills Chore Service] Ann Gray to talk about pooling our services. We have been around 32 years and have strong resources, so it made sense to combine our organizations,” explained MacLaren. “Both operations share the same vision, mission and services. The goal of the consolidation is to maximize resources to provide services for the people of Litchfield County.”

Efficiency of scale is important because Chore, a nonprofit, receives federal grant funding from the Older Americans Act through the Western Connecticut Area Agency on Aging and saw its funding reduced 33 percent this year. Client contributions supplement the grant and Chore Service also receives donations from towns, churches, charitable foundations and donors so that the program can remain affordable.

This year, Kent officials were asked to increase the town’s grant to the agency by 66 percent to $10,000. MacLaren said all the towns were asked to increase their funding. “Funding is an issue we face every year—it’s always a moving target but this year was more of a hit than others. These monies subsidize all clients aged 60 and over, regardless of income.”  

Chore Service in Salisbury had embarked on a three-year plan to see how it could grow its technical assistance and provide more social outlets for clients. “Instead of that, we have expanded our geographic area,” MacLaren said. “When the dust settles, we will go back to our other plan. We just need more bodies to do the work and for that we need fundraising.”

LHCS has been dissolved and its assets, clients, workers and staff have been transferred to Chore Service, which now maintains offices in Salisbury and Bantam. Gray has joined the Chore Service Board and Orr has transferred to Chore Service fulltime, splitting her time between Salisbury and Bantam.

Orr said all 90 of the LHCS clients continue to be served with no interruption in services.

“There have been some hiccups and headaches along the way, but this is exciting,” said MacLaren.

“It’s a wonderful organization that truly makes a difference in people’s lives,” concluded Orr.

Chore, located at 15 Academy St. in Salisbury, has office hours Monday-Thursday,  9 a.m.-4 p.m.; and Friday, 9 a.m.-noon.; 860-435-9177, chore@choreservice.org.

Kathryn Boughton
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