Nonprofits help seniors to cope with isolation due to virus

Volunteers at the Daily Bread

Despite the shutdown of activity of COVID-19, or the coronavirus, Lakeway Area nonprofits interviewed have been helping to make the best of the situation.

At the Daily Bread Community Kitchen, their mission has not changed.

“We’re feeding anybody who comes and we still have some seniors who come,” Daily Bread President Larry Shropshire said. “A lot of the seniors are staying in because of coronavirus.”

Shropshire said that he has left it up to the volunteers, many of which fall into the over 60 years of age range who are more susceptible to illnesses.

“I told our volunteers that if you don’t feel comfortable coming, don’t come,” he said. “Normally, we would have 12-14 volunteers, but today we had only five volunteers. It was takeout meals.”

Shropshire said that he didn’t want to put any of the volunteers in any danger.

“We’re wearing masks and have them for any volunteers who want them,” he said.

The ministry served 1,187 meals the previous week, including 145 meals the day of the interview.

Meanwhile, at Morristown-Hamblen Central Services, Executive Director Ashley Hux has been busy networking with other nonprofits to stretch food supplies.

“I had just talked to Debbie Thayer (of Morristown Senior Citizens Center) and we’ve tried to connect with those key agencies who work with senior citizens,” Hux said. “We devised a plan that if a senior needs transportation, we would work together to get what they would need.”

Hux said that the agencies are trying to work together to stretch resources.

“It’s been the best way to take care of the entire community as a unified unit where we can stretch our resources,” Hux said.

Central Services is still offering drive-through pantry services, but other services are only available via phone.

“We’ve had a couple of work/training programs that required participants to stay home,” Hux said. “We are practicing social distancing.”

The usual number of volunteers have not been available since the coronavirus caused reduction in services.

“We try to educate anyone coming through. We’re trying to be mindful of our own health so we can still serve through this time,” Hux said. “We usually have 15 to 20 workers at our offices, we are at our core staff now.”

Hux said that she has offered to check in on those who may need help. “If they need anything, they will let us know,” she said.

There may be a modified schedule going forward due to supply chain interruptions.

“If we don’t pull back a little bit now, we may be in trouble at the end,” Hux said. “There are a lot of places that are pulling together.”