During the last nine days, the Area Agency on Aging’s professional staff has responded to 8,126 calls, 86 percent related to food, that have come into the 24-hour SeniorHelp Line, an increase of 257 percent over the previous nine days.
In response to those calls, the agency’s staff and 35 volunteers and AmeriCorps members delivered 420 food boxes provided by St. Mary’s Food Bank, 32 food bags filled by Area Agency staff and 500 sack lunches provided by CSAA Insurance Group. In addition, 107 callers were referred to senior centers for grab-and-go meals or to Meals on Wheels for delivery.
“Our team has been working around the clock to ensure that seniors in our community have the food and nourishment they need at a time when it’s more difficult than ever for them to get to a grocery store. These numbers don’t reflect referrals that have been to other services and resources that are so important to their health and well-being,” said Area Agency on Aging President and CEO Mary Lynn Kasunic. “It has been an effort driven by an incredible commitment to the clients we serve every day. In fact, our staff has been bringing in extra cans of food that they purchase on their own when they go shopping for themselves.”
Kasunic said that “St. Mary’s Food Bank has been a tremendous partner in our outreach, and supplying food pallets every day based on our needs.”
During the nine days prior to March 18, the SeniorHelp Line responded to 2,091 calls, 25 percent of which were related to food, Kasunic said.
TheSeniorHelp Line (602-264-HELP (4357) or Toll Free at 888-783-7500)is a 24-hour information and assistance resource and central intake for the Area Agency, helping seniors navigate a diverse range of resources.
Among the services are information on benefits including Medicare counseling, family caregiving support, legal assistance and links to a variety of other resources that help older adults.
Kasunic said that the Senior Help Line also can provide information about volunteer opportunities for those who may be interested.
For more information, visit www.aaaphx.org.