Combating loneliness at any age is hard, but it's arguably the hardest for seniors who live more isolated lives than younger generations. That's where Befrienders comes in.

"Our whole idea is to combat social isolation," said Christel Chvilicek, the executive director of Befrienders. Befrienders is a local nonprofit, on its 26th year, that pairs a volunteer with a senior in the community who just needs a friend. The pairs spend about an hour a week together, doing all sorts of things, from just hanging out and talking to running errands and going to events. 

"They just have quality time together," Chvilicek said. She's been the executive director of Befrienders since last November, and has some heartwarming stories about pairs. Examples include volunteers teaching seniors who can no longer drive how to read the bus schedule, or retired teachers paired with college students studying education and hoping to teach someday. 

Befrienders currently has about 65 matches, or 130 people, as part of the program. It's growing, Chvilicek said, and is aiming to have 100 matches by the end of 2019. Each "pair" costs roughly $500 to make — that pays for the background check run on every volunteer and the staff time needed to check references and train volunteers. Chvilicek, Befrienders' only paid employee, said making one match takes about eight hours. More matches is great, but it also means Befrienders needs more money. That's where the Swingin' September Night comes in. 

The Swingin' September Night is a 1930s-themed dance fundraiser, complete with the Bridger Mountain Big Band, swing lessons from the MSU Swing Cats and themed appetizers and drinks at a cash bar. 

"We wanted something that was a little bit different," Chvilicek said. "It's really about getting out there in our community and showing what we do." 

The push for fundraising has another inspiration, as well. Befrienders has been offered the Challenge grant from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation. If the organization is able to raise $15,000 by February 2020, the foundation will match that amount. Befrienders' three-year plan is to expand into other communities in Montana, and $30,000 certainly wouldn't hurt that goal. 

"I think there's so many opportunities," Chvilicek said. "There's a huge need." 

The Swingin' September Night fundraiser will take place eon Saturday, September 14 beginning at 6 p.m.  Tickets are $30 for an individual and $50 for a couple. To buy tickets, refer a senior or volunteer to be a Befriender, you can visit