LifePath launches variety of programs for seniors, caregivers during pandemic

  • LifePath volunteers collect food and personal protective equipment to deliver to personal care attendants. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 6/15/2020 1:25:49 PM
Modified: 6/15/2020 1:25:44 PM

LifePath is offering a variety of new programs in Franklin County and the North Quabbin area in response to the financial insecurity and hunger people are experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the new programs is the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which assists farmers, ranchers and consumers. The Executive Office of Elder Affairs is coordinating the procurement, processing and delivery of food boxes.

Janis Merrell, marketing and outreach coordinator for the nonprofit, said LifePath will be a regional distributor and will work with local councils on aging.

Participating elders will receive one 10-pound box of pre-cooked meats or cheeses per delivery, she said, at a value of about $50 per box.

LifePath will distribute 469 boxes four times per year (May/June, July/August, September/October and November/December), and people ages 60 and older are eligible. There is no cost to participants.

Merrell said the program will bring about $93,800 in food to Franklin County and North Quabbin elders. The delivery of the boxes will be “truck to trunk,” with food available for pickup or delivery.

Participating sites are the Northfield Senior Center, Bernardston Senior Center, Greenfield Senior Center within the John Zon Community Center, Athol Senior Center, Gill-Montague Senior Center, Erving Senior and Community Center, Orange Senior Center, Shelburne Falls Senior Center, Petersham Council on Aging and Leyden Council on Aging.

LifePath will also distribute grocery store gift cards and caregiver grants, Merrell said. There are limited quantities, so people should contact LifePath to make a request.

The nonprofit is offering grocery shopping and delivery services during the pandemic, too. Volunteers will shop on behalf of seniors with physical illnesses or disabilities, or who are immunocompromised.

The agency also has a Phone Pals Program for those who feel isolated because of social distancing.

Merrell said none of the new programs would be possible without the support of LifePath volunteers.

“We at LifePath thank them all for their immense generosity toward elders, people with disabilities and caregivers,” she said.

Besides continuing to respond to increased demand for Meals on Wheels, LifePath is reaching out to personal care attendants who are younger than 60, Merrell said, to provide a seven- or 14-day supply of frozen meals, as well as personal protective equipment. Volunteers deliver these on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

For more information on any of the various programs, call 413-773-5555 or 978-544-2259 or email info@lifepathma.org.


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