Theresa Eaton was the first met by the Tracy Volunteer Caregivers office manager.
Both women immediately smiled, hugged and sprang into chitchat while unloading the groceries Narez had brought.
“It’s a very heartwarming feeling when you know that people are being taken care of,” said Narez, who has volunteered with Tracy Caregivers for two years.
Tracy Volunteer Caregivers is a nonprofit organization dedicated to seniors, the disabled and the chronically ill, as well as their families.
In its 11th year, the group provides clients with transportation to appointments, shopping trips and other activities and helps with minor house repairs, housekeeping and many other services clients may need.
“We do anything we can to help them get along in life,” she said. “We try to keep them independent.”
Eaton says it’s a great service.
“It’s such a big help, because I don’t drive,” she said. “I don’t know what I’d do without them.”
Another client lives right across the street from Eaton. Upon hearing of the service from her, George Calkins contacted Tracy Caregivers to receive the same support.
“I recently had a heart attack, and they’ve been great,” he said.
According to Narez, most awareness about Tracy Caregivers arises “through word of mouth.”
“We need to get out and get people to know about us,” she said. “We survive mainly on grants and fundraisers.”
Eaton and Calkins are two of 47 clients served by 18 volunteers, according to Narez. The organization stays on call, booking visits ahead of time when clients are in need and matching each need with an available volunteer. The group receives at least 80 calls a week, Narez said.
“We have seen it grow — it almost quadrupled in the last few years,” she said. “We love to take on clients, but we need volunteers, too.”
Volunteers go through background checks and interviews to guarantee they are appropriate for the service. Clients are also interviewed to be sure they are truly in need.
“Some of them don’t have anybody else but us,” Narez said. “My biggest satisfaction is when they tell us how happy they are. I love it.”
Narez believes the service is vital because “there are so many people stranded outside the city limits” where there is no public transportation, such as Tracy’s Tracer bus service.
“We need to stop forgetting our seniors, our disabled and our poor in town. They need ways to get into town and sustain life,” she said. “That’s why it’s so important that we do this for them.”
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