A goal for GRACE this year was to connect more deeply with the local senior population who struggle with food insecurity. And then the pandemic made vulnerable people even more so. Transportation services, enrichment and fitness classes ground to a halt. In figuring out a new normal, seniors sought help from GRACE and became members of our family of shoppers. 71 of 125 households in Summit’s senior housing became weekly recipients of groceries delivered by a dedicated volunteer team.
From our very first week making deliveries, residents of senior housing asked to help. Residents who know their building and their neighbors better than anyone, secure the delivery cart, remind recipients of the distribution time, and check in with their friends and neighbors During this time the volunteers check in to cover their neighbors’ basic needs, whether it is diet-specific food, season-appropriate clothing, or health care supplies.
While the neighbors deliver the goods and connect in a socially distant and appropriate way, trained GRACE team members then have the opportunity to accomplish wellness checks. Team members scan recipients’ temperatures, check lucidity, and keep emergency contacts with pertinent notes in case something goes wrong.
“The residents were looking for a sense of purpose. They like to be involved. Volunteers go room to room, more than the would in the COVID era. They point out other needs, invite people to enroll in the grocery program, and make suggestions as to how to better serve the senior population.
Sure people benefit from a regular delivery of nutritious fresh food, but the seniors‘ health has also flourished when uplifting their neighbors in isolation. These guys are super heroes for their neighbors. They leave their apartments and their own heads for a while and brighten someone else’s day in a real, meaningful way.” says Sue Fieseler who leads the senior response team.
About the Grantee
GRACE stands for Giving and Receiving Assistance for our Community’s Essentials. While essentials can mean nutrient-dense food, we also aspire to enable the security, stabilization and success for all our community’s households.