LETTER – Courtenay-Comox MLA says senior support initiative is receiving rave reviews

Dear editor,

We have all been profoundly impacted by COVID-19, but imagine you are a senior living at home and the calls to physically distance meant completing your day-to-day tasks became much more difficult.

The ways we navigate the grocery store, how we access transportation, and who we choose to interact with, have all shifted with the arrival of the virus and we know these new realities have an even greater impact on the elderly.

Seniors need support now more than ever and that’s why our government launched a province-wide initiative, “Safe Seniors, Strong Communities,” providing the United Way of the Lower Mainland with $50 million to quickly bolster seniors’ supports at local community service agencies throughout British Columbia.

By simply dialing 2-1-1 or filling in an online form at www.bc211.ca, seniors 65 and older can request volunteer help with grocery shopping, meal preparation, and prescription pick-up, or they can receive a friendly check-in call. Those looking to volunteer can get involved by contacting bc211, and the service matches up those willing to donate their time and those requiring assistance.

This program has been a game-changer for seniors across the province and right here at home in the Comox Valley. I’ve heard from Darien and Teddy who have their groceries shopped for and delivered. They also receive hot meals three times a week, and regular phone check-ins. They both feel much less isolated than they would if these services were not being provided and it would be next to impossible for them to get food any other way, due to their health issues.

Teddy expressed to me their deep gratitude to the volunteers who pay attention to the details with care and empathy. The drop-offs of these goods have meant they can maintain a sense of independence and autonomy while remaining in line with the guidelines of our provincial health officer. They’ve expressed that these interactions make it far less frightening to stay physically distant.

Darien looks forward to the check-in phone calls and depends on them for a sense of routine and normalcy. They hope that when the pandemic fades away, these friendships will continue.

This program has helped bring seniors and volunteers together in community. It exemplifies the commitment and compassion that British Columbians have brought to our fight against COVID-19. I’m proud of and grateful for all my good neighbours in the Comox Valley. Let’s continue to be there for one another in the ways that matter. Thank you for all that you do.

Ronna-Rae Leonard

MLA, Courtenay-Comox

Do you have an opinion you’d like to share? Email letters@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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