Whistlestop’s Calm, Focused Effort to Help Our Neighbors in Need
Now more than ever, our older adult community is relying on us. We are hearing from our neighbors who are hungry, friends who feel frightened and alone, and family members who are worried about the wellbeing of their loved ones. Our message to them is clear: Whistlestop is here for you.
Although the doors to our Active Aging Center closed when the Shelter-in-Place order was issued, we recalibrated to remain hard at work, providing calm, focused support to Marin\’s most at-risk groups. We looked at the challenges, the closures and the new situations older adults and individuals with disabilities face in this time of physical distancing. Here’s what our dedicated staff are tirelessly working to do:
- Home-Delivered Meals. Working to rapidly increase our capacity to expand our home-delivered meals programs. The need increased by over 1,000 meals since the Shelter in Place order began. One 87-year-old man called us in tears, hungry and anxious. We were able to divert a driver out for delivery that very same day to bring this man the nourishment he needed, and he continues to receive seven meals each week.
- Food Pantry. Our weekly food pantry has expanded by nearly 20% since the Shelter in Place order began, with an altered protocol for maximum safety. Any Marin resident having trouble obtaining food can access groceries at our center each Friday.
- Through a new collaboration with local schools, older neighbors feeling isolated or lonely are now receiving social phone visits from high school students. Our staff is also still answering calls from members needing support and information referrals.
- Safe Transportation. Older adults and people with disabilities are receiving rides to medical appointments and grocery stores through our free CarePool volunteer driver program. Our Marin Access paratransit services are also in full operation with increased safety protocols.
- Grocery Access. We’re helping those unable to shop for themselves by delivering groceries. A partnership with the County began the week of March 30 to deliver groceries to roughly 100 individuals and will continue to expand.
- Fresh, Affordable Take-out Meals. Our award-winning Jackson Café culinary team prepares fresh, nutritious takeout lunches for $6 M-F. Many members say they rely on these homemade meals as a core source of nutrition while sheltering in place.
As the Coronavirus crisis evolves we’ll continue to focus on the growing needs of our vulnerable aging population. When our community returns to normal in a few months, the needs of this vulnerable population will still be there, and so will Whistlestop.
For more details on the above programs please visit https://whistlestop.org/expanded-services/