When 87-year-old Rhoda Taffet of Lakewood goes for her transfusions at Kimball Medical Center, she doesn’t take a taxi cab. Instead, a volunteer with Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey (CVCJ) helps her with her walker, getting into and out of his car, and delivering her to the medical center. He then sets up the appointment for her next session. Four hours later he picks her up and brings her to her home.
Her caregiver volunteer is none other than Steven Langert, a former Lakewood Township Mayor and Deputy Mayor who is currently serving as a Committeeman on the Township Committee.
Taffet said she had no idea at first that the volunteer who had been giving her rides for the past six months was a township official. Taffet said that Langert never mentioned his township position at first, but after awhile he gave her his business card. “He was always so incredibly kind to me. He would always ask me if I needed to stop anywhere to get anything on the way home,” she said.
“There are just no words to express my thanks and appreciation to Steve for being so helpful to me and so reliable. He is a wonderful friend to me,” said Taffet, who gave Langert a mishloach manos for Purim.
Langert has been a volunteer with CVCJ for the past four years. He recalled that he became interested in volunteering after he met Lynette Whiteman, executive director of the nonprofit interfaith organization that serves 23 municipalities in Ocean County, at a business function.
“It’s a fantastic group and the kind of services they provide appealed to me,” said Langert, who is also a volunteer with a similar type of organization within the Orthodox community known as the Chai Lifeline. His wife is also a volunteer with that organization.
While a CVCJ volunteer, he said he has done everything from take clients to doctor appointments to doing their food shopping. Langert encourages people of all faiths to volunteer for Caregivers (CVCJ) because there are so many community members who need support and caring.
“When I am needed, I only spend up two hours out of my day to pick her (Taffet) up and drive her to where she has to go and then bring her home. Caregivers (CVCJ) is great because they will schedule volunteers according to their own calendar,” he said.
Langert said he would encourage people to do volunteer work for Caregivers (CVCJ) or “any other organization that may strike a chord in their hearts.”
Taffet said, “What the staff does at Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey is extremely difficult, but the agency takes care of so many people and does it so well. I am extremely grateful.”
“Caregivers (CVCJ) thinks I’m doing them a favor for doing this for them,” Langert said, “but the truth is they’re doing me the favor because it gives me a good feeling and I know that when most people can do something for someone else without anything or payment coming back, it gives them a sense of satisfaction, a good feeling that’s worth more than money.”