Photo: Matthew Brown / Hearst Connecticut Media
Stamford resident Eileen Westfahl and her son Richard have become a grocery-delivering duo.
They are among the volunteers who deliver supplies to seniors in the city for SilverSource — a Stamford-based organization that provides a safety net for elderly residents in need through various initiatives.
The grocery service, for seniors who can’t or prefer not to venture out during the COVID-19 crisis, was recently added to SilverSource’s list of services.
The Westfahls were eager to aid the cause.
“I have volunteered for SilverSource before, and recently I received an email that they needed volunteers to bring food to seniors,” Eileen Westfahl said. “They are a great non-profit organization that handles the needs of seniors. They help fill in the gaps that are needed, whether it is financially, or through healthcare or nutrition.”
The Westfahls brought groceries to the residences of several seniors in Stamford last week, while following safety and social distancing precautions. They dropped the bags of groceries and essential items off at doorsteps, then called the individuals to let them know they arrived.
“While staying at home these past few weeks, you feel and wish you could do more to help people,” Westfahl said. “We saw that this was something that we absolutely could do. I am not a nurse, so I am not able to help like that, but this was a good way to help members of the community.”
Said Richard Westfahl, a 2013 Westhill High School graduate who currently resides in Manhattan: “It was nice we were able to do something, while remaining within the strict guidelines and not putting anybody at risk. We also made calls to check in to see how people were doing and if their needs were met.”
As part of SilverSource’s outbound program, volunteers made phone calls to clients — people who have used the service before — to make sure they had enough food or essential items during these challenging times.
“We have a prescription senior program that we have been doing for 20-plus years. Now it’s critical that we bring food to the home,” said SilverSource executive director Kathleen Bordelon. “Each person that we delivered to received a bag that included about 30 meals. Some of the food was donated, but we purchased a great deal of it. We’ve worked with all the food banks and we have been able to buy food wholesale.”
Bordelon stressed the significance of volunteers and donors in order for the organization to help meet the needs of their clients during this especially challenging time.
“Many of our clients have underlying health conditions and seniors are especially challenged right now, especially when they have few resources,” Bordelon said. “It’s important to have volunteers. There are no robots to put that food in your door. We need help from people in the community.”
SilverSource provides assistance to approximately 2,000 clients between the ages of 60 and 101, most of whom are low-income seniors. It offers a housing stability program that provides financial assistance, counseling, and advocacy to keep adults in their homes, including eviction prevention. A health care initiative, which provides direct financial assistance for medication and medical equipment and a hunger/nutrition program are among the ways the non-profit organization helps the elderly.
“We are contining to provide all of the services we always do. The food delivery service is just a new layer on top of that, along with the well-check call program,” Bordelon said. “It’s important to connect with seniors during the coronavirus pandemic.”
To volunteer for SilverSource, visit silversource.org.