While we are all experiencing a new way of life under COVID-19, we hope that you and your loved ones are remaining safe and healthy. The entire Council on Aging team has been working overtime to ensure that essential services are still available to support seniors and their families, while keeping our staff and tireless volunteers out of harm’s way.
Our core programs and services are vital to maintaining resilience while navigating the new normal. These initiatives include providing nutrition, information and referrals, coordinating volunteers, transportation, caregiver services and supports, outreach events and health and fitness – programs designed to make it possible for seniors to “age in place,” on their terms, in their homes and communities.
Expanded Services, Expanded Reach
During the Coronavirus crisis, we’ve been able to increase our services, attract new volunteers, offer nutrition and outreach to seniors and raise new funds from our generous donors.
“With all of the challenges so many businesses and nonprofits are facing during the crisis, I’m pleased to report that we have been able to meet our growing needs during these difficult times,” says Susan Rotella, executive Director. “Thanks to assistance from our donors and partners, our staff has been able to make an extraordinary effort to not only continue, but expand the support we provide to seniors, caregivers and their families,” she added.
Pivoting to Meet Increasing Needs
In these unprecedented times, we’ve learned to quickly pivot to handle the increasing needs of our community. Here’s what we’ve implemented so far:
Phone Lines Are Lifelines
Our buildings are closed to the public BUT:
- We are supporting clients over the phone.
- On-boarding new clients via a phone assessment.
- Answering information and referral calls during our normal business hours: Monday – Friday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.
Remote Operations Are in Full Swing
- We’ve implemented sanitary practices for staff working in the office.
- Our operations team has forwarded the office phones of our entire staff to their home/cell phones, so clients are served in real-time.
Volunteers Step Up to Meet the Need
- We’ve welcomed many new volunteers, helping replace those who needed to stand down to protect themselves and family members.
- An increased Meals on Wheels program and Grab-N-Go meals are being distributed across the tri-county.
- The STARS transportation pilot in Sisters is off and running with volunteers taking residents to non-urgent medical appointments in Bend and Redmond.
- We’re hiring a full-time Volunteer Manager to support new, existing and future programs, and the many more volunteers that will be needed in the coming months if COVID-19 continues to quarantine seniors.
- An amazing volunteer purchased flowers for 320 bouquets for Mother’s Day and we gave them to all Meals on Wheels and Grab-N-Go clients in Bend, Sisters and La Pine.
Meals on Wheels at Full Speed –
- We’re delivering 1,500 meals a week.
- Wait lists have been eliminated.
- More than 103 new participants have been added in just 5 weeks.
Expanded Community Dining at a Distance
- Bend, Sisters, Madras, and La Pine have pivoted in-person senior dining to Grab-N-Go take out lunches. Visit our information page for pick up days and times.
- We’ve spread the news by placing fliers in senior housing units, which is attracting new older adults to the program.
- Pet food and necessary home supplies are also being distributed to vulnerable seniors.
- Bend police and Deschutes County Emergency Response teams are helping direct traffic and facilitate distancing.
Communications—The Word is Getting Out
- Website traffic is up over 100% since March with many new visitors and longer user sessions.
- Our website has the most current COVID-19 information and resources.
- Facebook reach is up about 25% and has attracted 150 new followers.
New Partnerships— Finding Strength in Community
- Aloha Produce/Bend Food
- Bend La Pine School Kitchen
- Bleu Bite Catering
- Rockin’ Dave’s
- Longboard Louie’s
- Mongolian Barbeque
- Riff Coffee
- Tate and Tate
Local Food Supporters
- Healy Foundation
- Les Schwab Foundation
- Marie Lamfrom Charitable Foundation
- Meals on Wheels America
- Central Oregon Health Council
- Pacific Source via the United Way
- St. Charles Foundation
- The Oregon Community Foundation and the Amy Tykeson and John Teller Fund, the Ward Family Fund, the Casey Family Fund, and the Chambers Family Fund, all at the Oregon Community Foundation
Central Oregon Businesses
A league of their own
Thank You for Your Generosity. We Are Grateful and Humbled.
Thank you for all you do to strengthen the essential services that bring hope to the most vulnerable seniors in our community—especially now that we are staying home and saving lives. Your generous commitment helps ensure the Council on Aging thrives to serve when it is needed most.
In times like these, your generosity makes a real difference in the lives of those who need help most.