Office for the Aging volunteers meet seniors’ new needs
If there’s a silver lining to the past six weeks of restrictions on activity related to the COVID-19/coronavirus, it’s the response of Office for the Aging (OFA) and Dutchess Responds volunteers to meet the needs of the county’s seniors. It’s been impressive, and then some.
On an average pre-crisis weekday, OFA was delivering nutritious meals to more than 300 homebound seniors in our Home Delivered Meals (HDM) program, as well as providing meals to the 130 clients of our Senior Friendship Centers. Now, with our Senior Friendship Center clients staying home and other seniors staying home because of concerns about the virus, the number of seniors we’re serving in the HDM program has more than doubled and continues to grow.
Volunteers of all ages have stepped up to meet the massive new need. Many did so before we even made a public request. As of this week, we have enough volunteers to deliver meals to seniors throughout Dutchess County — but keep those volunteer applications coming. We’re planning for future months as if the need for home delivered meals and other services will continue to grow. Many seniors remain unaware of the HDM program, and that New York state has temporarily expanded eligibility for it. If you or a Dutchess County senior (age 60-plus) you know need nutrition assistance, contact the Office for the Aging at 845-486-2555, email email@example.com or go to www.dutchessny.gov/aging and click on the “Nutrition Services” link.
For more information about OFA volunteering, contact OFA Outreach Coordinator Brian Jones at 845-486-2544 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Printable volunteering applications are also available at www.dutchessny.gov/aging.
For other ideas about volunteering, contact your local houses of worship and municipal governments. Many communities within Dutchess County have built new volunteer assistance operations from scratch. There may be one where you live.
Dutchess Responds continues
For up to date information on the COVID-19 pandemic and how you can help seniors and other county residents, visit Dutchess Responds at www.dutchessny.gov, or call 845-486-3555. Thanks to the work of volunteers at the Medical Reserve Corps of Dutchess County (MRC), Dutchess Responds phone lines are now manned seven days a week between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Todd N. Tancredi is the director of the Dutchess County Office for the Aging in Poughkeepsie. The OFA can be called at 845-486-2555, emailed at email@example.com or found online, at www.dutchessny.gov/aging.