Thanks to a grant from the Worcester Together Fund, Elder Services of Worcester Area, Inc. (ESWA) has delivered 600 COVID goody bags to their high risk clients in 15 towns across central Massachusetts.
The gift bags were delivered by staff from ESWA and the Worcester Senior Center, all of whom are volunteered their time on a Saturday to spread some cheer. Worcester Area RSVP Volunteers are also volunteering their assistance with delivery.
“ESWA’s staff made the $35K grant go a very long way,” shares Lisa Kippax, ESWA interim Executive Director. “We are grateful to the Worcester Together Fund, the United Way of Central Massachusetts, the Greater Worcester Community Foundation and the City of Worcester for funding this project. We cannot wait to see the smiles on the folks’ faces when they receive them.”
ESWA staff came up with this project idea as a way to reach out to their most isolated clients, let them know “we care,” and to give them something to do while staying safe at home. The bags include: $20 gift card, cloth mask, hand sanitizer, thermometer, toilet paper, toiletries, bath scrubby, activity books, deck of playing cards, and more. ESWA estimates each bag to have a value of over $55.
Each bag also includes a hand-written letter from a member of our community. Over the period of two months ESWA collected over 600 “Love for the Elderly” letters and cards with caring, sincere, inspiring messages, letting the receiver know that they are loved, cared about, and they can overcome the challenges of the COVID crisis.
“The reception to our ‘Love for the Elderly’ letter writing project is overwhelming! We received letters from families and children, students completing academic community service, church groups, youth sports teams, and even other older adults who were happy to have a worthwhile project to work on while staying safe at home. Letters are still coming in, and ESWA will continue to deliver them throughout the summer,” Lisa shared.
All 600 bags were shopped for and hand assembled by a small team of a dozen ESWA staff. The volunteer team of 50 people delivered all 600 bags on Saturday, August 1, 2020 out of ESWA’s offices at the Worcester Business Center on Millbrook Street in Worcester.