Durham Community Cares

Posted on
August 29, 2023
Social Services
UR Community Cares® and Durham Human Services created Durham Community Cares as a strategy to help town residents with chores and isolation.
They have been collaborating to determine a plan to improve the lives of residents. 

Durham, CT, August 22, 2023 –
Durham Community Cares launched in August 2023 to support residents aged 70 or over and other adults who have temporary or permanent disabilities.

The Durham Human Services Department has partnered with UR Community Cares, HQ in Manchester, CT, to use its website to enroll individual volunteers who want to assist people in need.  Organizations can participate, businesses and civic groups can have volunteer days, the high school can have students volunteer together, and religious groups can get their youth groups involved. UR Community Cares is grateful to have received donations from Durham Human Services to enroll residents in need of help. Now those residents can safely connect with neighbors to get assistance via www.URCommunityCares.org.

The needs for assistance are large. The Social Services Coordinator Morgan Perry reports “Many people need or will need assistance with tasks that may have once come easy, from house chores to yard work to shopping and transportation. UR Community Cares helps fill the gaps in services that are needed for many older adults. Help with such tasks contributes to the overall goal of folks being able to live at home for as long as possible”

“In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the negative effects of social isolation. Maintaining connections with people is a critical component in keeping a high quality of life.” said Perry.

Michelle Puzzo, co-founder and President of UR Community Cares, says, “Our website allows for a streamlined source of free support for household tasks, yard work, companionship, and local transportation, so people can keep living safely in their homes. Many are looking for transportation as they no longer drive, need help around the house after recovering from surgery and, most importantly, create vital social bonds that will stave off isolation and loneliness.” Individuals can use the service online on their own or with the assistance of friends, family, or other helpers, or they can call in for phone assistance.

The Town of Durham Human Services Department committed $1,000 of funds to start the service. Although the service is free to each individual volunteer and each recipient of services, Durham Community Cares must raise one hundred dollars on behalf of each individual to pay a one-time charge covering a criminal record and sex offender check, driver safety record if appropriate, insurance, and computer system costs.

“We are looking for eager volunteers to make a beneficial effect. As neighbors are aging and often have less family around, we all need to be better connected,” says Puzzo.

If any Durham resident or business wishes to contribute to this community program to increase its presence in the Durham community, they can sign up online at https://urcommunitycares.org/ or contact the Durham Human Services Department at (860) 349-3153 or mperry@townofdurhamct.org.  

About UR Community Cares

Recognizing the challenges faced by older adults and those with temporary or permanent disabilities, Michelle Puzzo, UCONN alumni, founded UR Community Cares in February 2019. UR Community Cares digital platform was built to match those in need with those in the same community who are eager to help.