The pandemic has been dubbed “the great revealer” because it has shown, sometimes with heartbreaking clarity, flaws in our economic system and holes in our social safety nets.
For Chimo Community Services, a Richmond-based not-for-profit which aims to help people in crisis or transition connect with resources, the revelation has been a lack of access to support for seniors.
"When people reach their senior years, there are so many vulnerabilities. Everybody can relate to how important it is to take care of our elders and our senior parents. Unfortunately, not everybody is in a position financially to take care of their parents. Some seniors have to make difficult choices between essentials, such as medical treatment or healthy food,” said Theresa Harding, Chimo's Seniors Services Supervisor.
To ensure local seniors find the resources they need, the organization plans to add senior services to its 15 integrated services, with an expected start date of early 2021.
On Friday, Chimo launched a 20 Days of Giving fundraising campaign to help offset the costs of the new service. It hopes to raise $20,000 to help pay for space rentals, marketing activities, staff salaries and other supplies.
It is appealing to individuals as well as local businesses and organizations to support the program through donations.
"We want to be able to provide them (seniors) with help, and we need to be adequately resourced to do that," said Harding.
The new service will connect seniors in crisis with trained volunteers to offer them individualized assistance while navigating government systems. Chimo will also provide seniors with access to services through video technology, phone calls and in-person meetings at Chimo's office locations.
People can make donations online until Dec. 1st. For more information, visit: bit.ly/20DaysOfGiving.