Community resilience through volunteering and compassion
In the central and northern regions of Vancouver Island, over 8,000 services have been delivered to vulnerable seniors through the Safe Seniors Strong Communities program since March, including 1,337 virtual visits, 2,591 phone check-ins, and 2,271 meal preparations and delivery. Each of these acts of kindness in our region were coordinated by the outstanding local staff at Nanaimo Family Life, a United Way Better at Home COVID-19 Emergency Response HUB agency. Their efforts are what make this province-wide initiative have a direct local impact.
“Working with the Safe Seniors, Strong Communities program has been a privilege as I have been able to witness firsthand what we can do collectively to help those in need. I’m so proud of my fellow colleagues, staff and volunteers who stepped forward to ensure the older adults in our community are cared for, physically and emotionally. We’re not alone and together we are getting through this," said Deborah Hollins, Executive Director, Nanaimo Family Life Association.
We are so grateful to work with such a dedicated community partner that is truely making a difference for our community.
Across the province, these efforts continue. Since March 26, over 90,000 services have been delivered to seniors by more than 8500 volunteers, thanks to the Safe Seniors, Strong Communities initiative. Not only has this program helped vulnerable seniors get the support they need but it has brought together the efforts of B.C. Community-Based Seniors Services Sector. Better at Home agencies province-wide, including 24 Emergency COVID Response agencies and numerous community-based seniors organizations worked tirelessly, whether that was training volunteers virtually, driving hundreds of kilometres to deliver groceries in rural Vancouver Island and northern BC or hosting online exercise classes to help home-bound seniors stay fit.
“Within two short weeks, we had the Safe Seniors, Strong Communities initiative up and running,” says Kahir Lalji, Provincial Director, Population Health, United Way of the Lower Mainland. “We have been able to leverage our existing network of over 100 agencies to be responsive to the urgent and emerging needs of older British Columbians. That is thanks to the caring, commitment dedication and countless hours of agencies and organizations serving seniors put in and continue to give to ensure that seniors have the support they need, no matter where they live.”
Safe Seniors, Strong Communities is a partnership between United Way’s Better at Home program, United Way-supported bc211 and the B.C. Government through the Ministry of Health.
Seniors Week is a time to celebrate and support the seniors in our communities. Because of the great kindness and compassion of our local volunteers, we have even more to celebrate for Seniors Week 2020.