By Kirsten O’Brien
When Abbotsford House connected by telephone and email with housebound seniors to do wellness checks during the pandemic, many mentioned food as a major concern. For some, it was the challenge of getting out to a store or the fear of going into a store. Many didn’t have a credit card for online shopping or struggled with having to shift finances to cover the increased cost of many things during the pandemic.
We considered how we could support these vulnerable seniors. Karen Anne Blakely, director of community programs, applied for a grant through the Ontario Community Support Association to assist seniors struggling with food security. We received enough money to provide up to 50 food hampers. We made of list of clients, recruited volunteers, developed a delivery route and began to shop. Staff and volunteers took the time to personalize the food boxes, ensuring that what was in each box would meet the needs and preferences of each of the seniors on the list. Deliveries of the food boxes were done by staff.
As our resources dwindled, we feared we would not be able to reach as many seniors as we had hoped. But Abbotsford was fortunate to receive a $500 donation from Metro Glebe. Owner Rebecca McKeen and her team did not hesitate when they asked to help with this project. Metro Glebe provided us with the resources to not only meet our target but to exceed it – Abbotsford has so far delivered 48 food boxes and is now aiming for 60 boxes.
In addition to the donation, Metro Glebe provided Abbotsford with a five-per-cent discount on the grocery bills. A huge shout out to Rebecca and her team for helping with this project.
Clients expressed their appreciation for the food hampers in feedback to staff. We received comments such as: “Only a few people are full of compassion like you,” “You are truly an angel,” “(the food box) was so generous, now I don’t have to arrange for someone to go get my groceries for at least a week” and “Thank you for the food hampers. Bless you all for being part of this.”
Abbotsford is your community support centre for adults 55+. We are the community programs of The Glebe Centre Inc., a charitable, not-for-profit, organization that includes a 254-bed, long-term-care home. Find out more about our services by dropping by 950 Bank Street (the old stone house) Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., telephoning 613-230-5730 or by checking out all of The Glebe Centre facilities and community programs on our website www.glebecentre.ca
Kirsten O’Brien is a member of Abbotsford Community Support Services.