Proving the adage that necessity is the mother of invention, the COVID-19 pandemic has spawned innovative partnerships to help communities as they adjust to social distancing practices.
“We have an opportunity to leverage this virus to refine systems and innovate to better serve not only our clients across the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula but also to assist others who need to stay at home,” observed Kathy Vesley, President and CEO of Bay Aging.
“In the last few weeks, we’ve partnered with local governments and many service organizations to develop service systems to assist seniors and make these mitigation measures as tolerable as possible,” she said. “The key is identifying strategies that facilitate collaboration with a variety of agencies able to address an assortment of needs in our communities. We are still in the early stages, but we are coming together to allow those who need to stay home to do so safely.”
Bay Aging is collaborating with organizations including the Cryer Center, area Departments of Social Services, the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services, Healthy Harvest Food Bank, interfaith communities and many others to bolster and expand food deliveries to the homebound. Area grocery stores, pharmacies, police departments and restaurants introduced services that aid social distancing such as curbside and, in some cases, even home delivery of meals, groceries and prescription drugs.
Through a survey of area grocery stores and pharmacies, Bay Aging developed a guide that identifies businesses, such as the Urbanna Market and Tri-Star Supermarket in Kilmarnock, that offer special shopping hours for seniors, curbside delivery and even home delivery in the town of Kilmarnock.
The Deltaville Market is scheduling pick-ups of online orders to facilitate social distancing. A comprehensive list of area grocery stores and pharmacies and any relevant services they are offering to facilitate social distancing can be found on the Bay Aging website at: www.BayAging.org.
Del. Keith Hodges (R-Urbanna), Consociate Media and Bay Aging are also partnering to attract volunteers across the Middle Peninsula with hopes of expanding into the Northern Neck. The program will engage “County Captains” to organize volunteers to deliver meals, groceries or prescriptions to homebound or quarantined people; and also to cut lawns or do other chores.
As more people request meal deliveries, area restaurants will have the opportunity to provide meals for volunteer delivery.
Anyone experiencing food insecurity during these difficult times can call 1-800-493-0238 to request Meals on Wheels assistance. Bay Aging also offers a Community Volunteer and Request for Assistance link on the Bay Aging website and Facebook page to connect interested community residents who want to help with neighbors in need of assistance.