The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank has teamed up with the Jefferson Area Board for the Aging (JABA) to keep seniors fed, despite recent closures of all JABA senior centers due to the pandemic.
Area seniors, who are among the highest risk for complications of COVID-19, are encouraged to stay at home if at all possible, but the staff at the Greene County Senior Center have been doing everything in its power to maintain connections via regular phone calls, emails and social media posts to check up on its seniors.
“JABA Greene staff misses the members and our programs that we provided weekly and we are truly looking forward to coming back together,” said JABA Greene County Senior Center Manager Sandra Davis. “We will be checking in with members each week to see how they are doing and they are to call us if they need anything; we are here to help.”
JABA began partnering with the food bank three years ago to distribute food boxes to eligible seniors in need, with distribution through the senior centers in Greene, Esmont, Charlottesville, Nelson and Scottsville. Now, senior center staff are doing even more to ensure their seniors have access to necessary food and medical supplies.
“During this unprecedented event, so many of those we serve are now more isolated and without access to proper nutritional supports and resources,” said Emily Foreman, manager of senior nutrition programs for JABA.
While in some locations, public transportation drivers are assisting in delivering food boxes to homebound seniors, in Charlottesville and in Greene County, JABA managers are hand-delivering these food boxes to area residents themselves.
“These food delivery alternatives and enhancements represent a coming together of dedicated community partners and friends to solve problems and exercise flexibility,” said Melissa Wender, partner services coordinator for the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. “We ran by the Virginia Health Department how to do a safe home delivery, to keep it safe for the volunteers and for the people getting the food, so we’re all following the same protocols.”
In addition to home food delivery, Davis and her staff mailed out activity packets with Bingo cards and directions to play via telephone conference calls (they play every Thursday morning) along with word searches and exercise suggestions. On social media, they are sharing daily videos of cooking, reading, sing-alongs, updates and more to let the seniors know they are not alone.
You can follow the Greene County senior center on Facebook at facebook.com/GreeneCountyCommunitySeniorCenter.