Our call to action during COVID-19
We continue to be amazed at the resilience of the FiftyForward staff—especially our core group of individuals, our essential services team, who are ensuring older adults are getting the food and access to the resources they need to survive. Initially, our essential services were based out of two locations: our FiftyForward Fresh/Meals on Wheels site, where some of our newly assigned staff members are preparing emergency food bags and delivering meals, and a command central in north Nashville at FiftyForward Bordeaux.
From the initial “safer at home” order, we have found new ways to deliver our essential services. Meals continue to be sent to a much larger group of individuals who are needing food and assistance. The impact of our efforts with even a skeletal crew of FiftyForward teammates on site is amazing. Here is an overview of some of our efforts.
- In mid-March, we began providing a fresh hot meal plus a bag of shelf-stable groceries either via drive-thru or home delivery for some center members who needed assistance, as well as a few older adults in the community who contacted us through our resource line at 615-743-3416. Groceries were donated by several community partners and other individuals who responded to our call for food and shelf-stable goods.
- Following that first effort, we added the FiftyForward Foster Grandparent volunteers to the program as well as additional seniors who reached out to us in need of food or support. Approximately half of those for whom we prepared meals drove to the center in Bordeaux to pick up food. The other half needed to have those meals delivered to their homes. Home deliveries are now being handled by our staff members who have been deployed to new locations to assist with essential services. In early April, our volunteer team members were surprised to find a selection of brightly colored face masks created by center members for our staff volunteers. What a nice surprise!
- Our staff members continue to make calls to center members as part of our telephone reassurance plan. As challenging as it is for us to “stay at home” in isolation, it is equally or more difficult for older adults. This pandemic has underscored how lonely it can be for those who can’t get out of the house or who have no one to assist them.
- The FiftyForward resource line is being answered by staff members at our centers and we are seeing a large increase in calls and need for support. Many more calls are being fielded where additional action has taken priority (either meals or FiftyForward Care Management). A number of these callers were referred by other community partners. We are focused on meeting immediate needs and plan to provide ongoing services if these individuals are interested or in need.
- Centers are sharing and offering virtual classes to keep everyone who is at home engaged and active (mentally and/or physically). From our own strength training classes, gardening, meditation, and live performances, we are reaching out (and our members are tuning in) in new and interesting ways.
Donations continue to be needed, especially monetary contributions, to fund our services and purchase food for those who are dependent on us for nutrition and supportive care. Support our efforts at www.FiftyForward.org.