Just days into the pandemic, Mending the Gap’s average of 300 seniors served by their agency increased to more than 400, according to Founder and Executive Director Fay Josephs.
“This is a critical time for senior citizens who are the most vulnerable for COVID-19, which has had a major impact on our programs,” says Josephs. “The needs have dramatically increased.”
Mending the Gap serves low-income seniors who live independently by providing them with emotional support, camaraderie, groceries, toiletries and household cleaning supplies.
“The increase in services due to COVID left us with empty shelves and limited resources,” says Josephs. “At the same time, there was a decrease in donations as donors were reluctant to give because they also were feeling the pressure, and our spring fundraiser was canceled.”
A $3,000 grant from the Jackson EMC Foundation helped fill the gap for Mending the Gap, which worked to keep their senior clients at home—safe and healthy.
“We needed the extra help,” says Josephs. “It was wonderful because we wanted to provide as much support as we could.”
Whereas the nonprofit agency routinely delivers groceries and household supplies to seniors once a month, during the pandemic, they increased deliveries to once a week. And, for the first time, they delivered prepared meals to clients.
“Because they are so susceptible to this virus, we have been delivering meals to our seniors’ homes twice a week,” says Josephs. “This helped keep them safe at home.”
To deliver fresh meals to seniors twice weekly, Mending the Gap worked with local restaurants that donated meals or gave discounts.
“That’s mainly what our grant went to—to provide meals and deliver groceries to more seniors, more frequently, which helped them stay home and stay safe,” says Josephs.
The Jackson EMC Foundation assistance enabled Mending the Gap to redirect attention that might have gone into procuring funds to addressing other needs of senior citizens.
“For older adults who cherish time spent with friends, this distancing can be tough mentally and emotionally, therefore we increased our phone calls to seniors to reassure and encourage them through this difficult time,” says Josephs.
Darlene, the resident of a Lawrenceville apartment complex where many seniors receive Mending the Gap services, heaps praise on the nonprofit.
“What they do for us is something we can depend on,” she says while clutching a brand new bag chockfull of groceries.