The Friends of Bourne COA has existed since 1979. The Friends was organized to support and enhance the Bourne Council on Aging and to provide services, resources and activities for seniors and the Bourne community. The Friends is a non-political, non-profit organization run by a Board of 13 volunteers, and one paid part time executive administrator. We have been particularly involved in focusing donations toward the Community Center in the infancy of the Bourne COA. Some of our subsequent involvement with the Bourne COA included starting Bridging The Years and the Community Café, both of which were taken over by Bourne in 2012.
In 1992, the Friends started the Bourne Food Pantry, which presently has four paid employees and an appreciative number of reliable volunteers. The Food Pantry is the one most significant function of the Friends; in November the food pantry was visited by 1,542 individuals from the Bourne Community; 850 adults, 247 seniors and 445 children. Donations of money, food and living needs from the business and private community, allow the Food Pantry to be successful. This service requires facilities, a sizable truck that weekly travels to the Greater Boston Food Bank, and appropriate insurance, maintenance and administrative coordination.
The Friends has other community supportive functions: some of these follow:
- Publish a newsletter 10 times a year, that is the main means of communication for the Friends, and the Bourne Council on Aging; it is received by more than 1,600 people by mail and through the new Internet eNewsletter 420 people;
- Purchase Knox boxes for the Bourne COA that allows them to distribute these lock boxes to facilitate access to homes by Police, Fire, and COA Outreach personnel;
- Supplies needed heating fuel assistance through the outreach personnel of the Bourne COA;
- Aids in needed pharmacy costs and grocery gift cards for those in need; these are available via the Food pantry and through the Bourne COA;
- Organizes the distribution of Toys for Tots at Christmas;
- Certificates to permit seniors to participate in exercise programs at the community Center.
The Friends are able to accomplish this through the generous support of the community.
Activities throughout the year have Friends volunteers organizing Craft Fairs, Physic Fairs, dinners with entertainment, and trips. Although these are designed primarily for people to enjoy themselves, they are also important fundraisers.