SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – Senior Solutions, the Council on Aging for Southeastern Vermont, is hosting a silent auction to raise funds to support our Home Visitor Programs. These volunteers support our area’s older citizens by doing anything from shopping or picking up groceries for them to making friendly phone calls to help reduce the feeling of isolation and loneliness and to keep us all connected with each other. These volunteers are looking forward to being able to meet with their partners in person.
You can help support these wonderful programs by donating something to our silent auction we have planned for this April. Businesses that donate to the auction will receive publicity on the auction website, as well as in newspaper articles promoting the fundraiser. All we need from you is: a brief description of what you will donate; the value of the item, gift certificate, or service; and where we can pick up your donation. Items must be received by March 22 so we have time to get them onto the auction site. We will continue to accept donated items throughout the auction and want them as early as possible to give us time to post them on the website.
The Silent Auction will run throughout the month of April. Winners will be announced in May and arrangements will be made for pick up or delivery of auction items. For donations or more information about the auction, call us at 802-885-2664 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We invite you to join the Volunteer Visitors group! So here is a snapshot from our volunteer coordinator with some of activities we do with our volunteer visitors: “With the help of our volunteer, Jaqueline, we are well over 50 items for our silent auction; 50-plus volunteers have been actively providing shopping/errand trips as well as in-person home visits to 110-plus recipients throughout Windsor and Windham counties and 14-plus volunteers are making friendly calls to those who are isolated.”
Their next in-service volunteer gathering is scheduled for Tuesday, March 30, from 10 a.m. to noon via Zoom. There will be a discussion on interacting with those who are blind or visually impaired and an overview of resources with speaker Mike Goldberg, a home visitor volunteer and former Director for Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
Discussion will also include elder abuse. Like all Senior Solutions staff, volunteers are considered mandated reporters of elder abuse. Your role is to be aware of the signs and report to them. Arthur Smith, project director for the Elder Justice Grant will join the meeting and give an overview on elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation. He will be available to answer any questions that follow.
If you would like to become one of our amazing volunteer visitors, just call our Help Line at 802-885-2669 and tell us you want to join the team. There are all kinds of things you can do to keep our aging Vermonters connected with their communities where we know each other and feel familiar. This is one way to support our friends and neighbors, as we all grow older in Vermont.
The National Council on Aging is launching the Annual Boost Your Budget Week campaign during April. The official campaign week is April 12-16, 2021. Become an educated consumer and save money on healthcare, prescriptions, food, and save money. This year we are working with ABLE-NH to promote the NCOA Benefits Enrollment Center, which offers a huge variety of benefits that older Americans have earned.
How can fixed income Medicare beneficiaries and caregivers learn about the many ways to improve their health and economic security? If you are aged 60 or older or disabled, contact Senior Solutions Help Line at 802-885-2669 and find out.
Our next BCTV program of “Keeping Up With Senior Solutions” will be recorded soon. We are also planning programs on self-neglect and interviews with some of our Senior Center directors. Sen. Bernie Sanders recently spoke via Zoom with Cynthia who oversees the Meals on Wheels program at the Brattleboro Senior Center. She was able to explain to him the constant challenge of receiving only about half of the cost of the meals. The need to fundraise in order to provide good quality meals is always part of their work. In addition, about 25% more have signed up for MOW over this year due to the economic strain of the pandemic. Covid-19 funds and Bernie’s generous donation will be wonderful and much needed infusions of financial support this year.
Her observation is that while Covid-19 funds will expire, the chances of the extra 25% more recipients will probably not disappear. That will place an additional burden on the ability of facilities such as hers to sustain the long-range financial burden of providing meals for the already underfunded program. We need to find a source to permanently structure better financial resources for MOW. The Thompson Center in Woodstock, the Bugbee Center in White River Junction, the Black River Senior Center in Ludlow, the Bellows Falls Senior Center, the Springfield Senior Center, and the Senior Center in Brattleboro all deserve our thanks for continuing to serve their communities through this difficult past year.
The Whitingham, Londonderry, Dam Diner and many other community groups have been tireless in their services to community nutrition programs. So many in Vermont have pitched in to fight against food insecurity that I wish we had the space to thank them all. So, please either volunteer a couple of hours a week or contribute to their meals programs. It will make a difference.