Senior Neighbors sends supplies, comfort during stay-at-home order

GRANDVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — Seniors citizens have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, but help is on the way.

Seniors Neighbors, which serves over 4,000 seniors in Kent County, will soon deliver some much-needed items to clients. On Friday, volunteers put together 120 care packages.

“In each bag, we have four rolls of toilet paper, a paper towel, some laundry soap,” Nicole Driesenga, centers and volunteer supervisor for Senior Neighbors, said. “They get a mask, hand sanitizer. They get two of them.”

A $10,000 United Way grant funded the purchase of the items.

“We used about half of the grant. And once these are gone, we hope to make another 120 in a week,” Driesenga said.

Volunteers also unloaded close to 300 boxes of nonperishable food items from the State of Michigan. But finding food for seniors isn’t the biggest problem.

“It’s finding toilet paper, soap, hand sanitizer, paper towels; those type of things are what the seniors are not able to find,” Driesenga said. “It’s a hit or miss. We did find a place in Wayland that stopped making beer (and) for right now is making hand sanitizer.”

But as the pandemic continues, new problems have developed for seniors; problems that won’t be solved by an extra roll of toilet paper.

“The biggest thing that we’re hearing from is the depression and the isolation,” Driesenga said.

Some Senior Neighbors clients have lost loved ones during the pandemic. Most have been separated from family member and friends. Senior Neighbors caseworkers reach out with phone calls and now, the organization has reached out to a local school for help.

“They said they have about 100 students that they’re willing to do pen pal. I think that that may help a little,” Driesenga said.

To sign up for Senior Neighbors, log on to SeniorNeighbors.org or call 616.459.6019.

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