Volunteers of the United Methodist Communities were honored at a special luncheon April 13 at Francis Asbury Manor in Ocean Grove. Approximately 50 attended the program in the chapel of that facility.
Meg Cox Gerth, the FAM’s Volunteer Coordinator, welcomed everyone and spoke of how this facility provides “abundant life for seniors.”
“The volunteers do so much to improve the life of our residents”, she said.
She said there are many opportunities for volunteering at the FAM, and then read a lengthy list of participating groups, which included: Ocean Township High School, Neptune High School, Shore Regional High School, Red Bank Regional high School, Rutgers University, Brookdale Community College, Montclair University, Rowan University, Drew University, and Princeton Theological University. Home-schooled children also volunteer, as do “Jack and Jill readers” who visit the FAM and read to the residents.
Dance students from the Shoreline Dance Academy entertained the FAM residents.
Performing choral groups included the American Boy Choir, who sang at Mother’s Day, and the Baroque Choir, who sang portions of Handel’s “Messiah”.
Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops have actively volunteered at the FAM, Cox said.
There are approximately 75 volunteers, with an average of 15 volunteer groups per month. Between 500-600 volunteer hours were logged during the past year, she said.
She spoke of the Francis Asbury Manor Auxiliary, who has raised a total of $250,000 over the years for the Fellowship Fund. This fund guarantees that the FAM resident can remain in his, her, or their room permanently, should their funds be depleted.
The FAM Auxiliary runs a bazaar during August – with clothing, house wares, books, jewelry, collectibles, Christmas and other holiday items – and they also assist the FAM residents with the December bazaar, she said.
Another major FAM fundraiser is the annual Walk for the Ages, held in September.
Cox spoke of the FAM men’s group and breakfast, which is led by volunteers and residents.
She spoke of corporate volunteers, including the Ocean Grove Chamber of Commerce, Boscov’s, Wegmans, and the Caring Friends group of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, Ocean Grove, the latter of whom provide the FAM residents with transportation at no cost.
She also mentioned therapy dogs, who are welcome visitors at the FAM. Other volunteer groups cited were Forever Friends and the Avon Garden Club.
There are poetry reading every other month at the FAM.
Cox mentioned the visitors who volunteer their time in providing companionship for the FAM residents, and the family volunteers who do the same.
Richard Johnston, FAM’s Executive Director, listed a number of qualities possessed by great volunteers, including energy, passion, team player, reliability, and commitment, and he thanked the luncheon attendees for their dedication. He said, “Meg just passed her fifth anniversary at the FAM.”
The luncheon guests were advised of a new initiative by Netflix – a music and memory program – produced by Michael Rosseta. The music program deals with adults living with Alzheimer’s. There are seventeen sites in the United States who will pilot this program, with the Francis Asbury Manor being the only site in New Jersey.