Resources available to senior citizens amid coronavirus pandemic

Posted at 10:11 PM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-16 16:55:28-04

SOUTHERN COLORADO — In the fight to keep senior citizens safe from the coronavirus several local organizations are taking extra precautions while still making sure resources remain available.

Operations are slightly shifting at places like Silver Key, Care and Share Food Bank, and the Senior Resource Development Agency in Pueblo. Still - efforts are being made to help the elderly get food and other items to limit their contact with the public, but they need your help.

Lynne Telford, CEO of Care and Share Food Bank, said, "We're really appreciative of this community. Every time we have a special need this community steps up to make sure that we can do our work."

Care and Share is just one of several players trying to keep food sources in stock for senior citizens.

"We need the funds to purchase food to help our neighbors in need and the other thing we need is volunteers...we're working on our programs for seniors right now. We're in contact with Silver Key, for example, and working with them."

Silver Key is reverting to a temporary pick-up and go model at food pantries.

Derek Wilson, director of development at Silver Key, said, "They grab their items and they can take it."

For those using the reserve & ride transportation services Wilson said, "We're putting together the food box for them and then our reserve & ride transportation services delivering that out to them."

The pantry is packing up the food and hygiene items requested depending on what's available. Wilson says the best thing folks can do to help is also to donate money.

He said, "We have great buying power as a non-profit to try to then obtain those items for them and put them in those pick-up food boxes that they take out of the food pantry right now."

When it comes to prepared meals Wilson said, "We are bringing prepared meals, hot-ready meals, to our Connections Cafe site to where, again, they can grab and go and take them and eat on their own."

The other option is Meals on Wheels - delivered to someone's home by a volunteer.

Wilson said, "We're keeping folks at least six feet away at all times."

The Independence Center is also trying to limit contact between staff and clients.

CEO Patricia Yeager said, "We serve a lot of people with disabilities and seniors so we've decided to close the building to all outsiders and we're providing services by phone or through the Internet."

Yeager shared that everything is still in place for the independent living program and in-home health program.

However, she said, "New people with disabilities who qualify for a lowered bus card they can't come in and get that."

It's a concern for her, but something she says is not an option right now.

As far as the SRDA in Pueblo we're told recreational programs and tax services have stopped. However, they are still delivering Meals on Wheels and providing transportation to medical visits and grocery stores. They are also offering box lunches for people who want to come get them.