Over the years, Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly has dedicated the organization time, funds and people to supporting seniors in the Copper Country. The organization helps seniors live social lives, make sure they have a meal, and provides rides to medical appointments.
Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly has provided essential services to seniors in the community over 40 years through their meal sites, chopping firewood, or friendly visits. Working throughout Baraga, Houghton, Keweenaw and Ontonagon counties, one of the organizations most successful programs is their drive to care program. During the year LB-FE provides over 800 free car rides to seniors trying to get to medical or doctor’s appointments.
“When this chapter of Little Brothers started in the early 80’s, staff members would take their personal vehicles and give the elderly folks they were serving a ride to their medical appointments and so on. And it grew into what it is today, a fairly robust transport program serving five counties. Often times when you take someone to their appointment they are a bit apprehensive and anxious about what good or bad news they might hear. And on the way home, if it’s good news they like to talk about it. And if it’s bad news, they also like to talk about it. It’s something they want to get off their chest, and share with someone else. And you learn to become a paitent and very careful listener.” – Paul Bruchman, Drive to Care Program Coordinator
The organization relies heavily on their group of dedicated volunteers, but is need of some more help. Little brothers expect the demand for rides will increase in the future, and will need another 50 drivers from the area to satisfy the community’s needs.
“Right now, we are at between 80 and 90 rides per month. And that’s been steadily growing over a period of months. We see a need for an additional 40 to 50 drivers to support the program. As we expand more into Baraga and Ontonagon counties. Right now we have 20-25 steady drivers that are very active in the program. Our range is mostly in the Houghton and Hancock area. With occasional rides to Marquette, I’d say we go to Marquette once to twice a week. And as we look to expand into Baraga and Ontonagon counties, that’s where our need for drivers is the greatest.” – Paul Bruchman, Drive to Care Program Coordinator
Individuals interested in volunteering with the little brothers friends of the elderly as a driver can find more information online, or by contacting the organization’s hancock office. The drive to care program has been partially funded by organizations such as copper shores community health foundation and the superior health foundation to date.