SANTA MARIA, Calif. - The coronavirus pandemic has made life lonely and challenging for many seniors living on their own. A local nonprofit is working to make sure they continue to get the food and medicine they need brought directly to their homes, along with delivering much needed human connection.
Community Partners in Caring has provided volunteer support services to seniors in Santa Barbara County since 1997. They help seniors live independently, and they've never been as busy as they are today.
Before the pandemic started, the Santa Maria-based organization served about 350 clients. Today they help over 850 seniors. The group used to focus on giving seniors rides and integrating them into the community, but that changed when stay at home orders were issued in March.
"Since COVID hit our main goal is keeping them safe while also letting them know that there's a community that cares for them," Community Partners in Caring Project Coordinator Kaley Wise said.
On Giving Tuesday, Community Partners in Caring is putting out a call to anyone who is available to help. Donations of money or time through volunteering will directly support senior citizens in the community.
"I think if anything this has really helped show the senior community - those that are isolated - it's OK to speak up," Wise said. "It's okay to ask for help, and there are organizations like ours that are willing to help them."
Community Partners in Caring volunteers work a flexible schedule, giving as much of their time as they choose. Volunteers can deliver food or medication to a senior's home, or simply call one of them up to say hello and connect from the comfort of their own home.
"Our volunteers have just said how rewarding it is of an experience to show how a simple act of just them going to the grocery store or them giving one of our seniors a ride to a medically necessary appointment how much it transforms not just the seniors day, but their life," Wise said. "It really transforms their life to show that there are people that care about them."