As Temperatures Fall, Needs Increase
New England Winters Bring Challenges
In New England this time of year, daylight becomes scarce and temperatures can easily fall below freezing. Going outside requires more preparation and, once the snow flies, walking and driving can be treacherous. It's the time of year when people who have lost family members and friends get lonely.
Our housing staff gets busier in the wintertime. Resident service coordinators make a point to check in with folks who might be alone and afraid to go out. Much more of their time is spent listening to tenants who may have no one else to talk to. And they make a point to schedule more events and activities in their houses to try to get folks out of their apartments: musicians, educational talks, coffee hours and wellness clinics.
Property managers are gearing up for the snow and ice. Furnaces run constantly, paths need to be shoveled and salted, and strategies formed for plowing the parking lots where cars rarely leave. It's during this time that we are especially grateful to our neighbors for their generous gifts of food for holiday and community meals, and food pantry items.
Behavioral health case managers, who are always on the lookout for social activities for our clients, refocus their efforts to find and organize indoor projects.
Our Neighbors Step Up
Some of our Senior Housing Programs have been adopted by neighborhood businesses. Westrum House in Topsham, for instance, is across the street from the Atlantic Federal Credit Union. Besides small gifts and financial reminders to tenants (about things like the importance of balancing a checkbook every month), the credit union employees sponsor, prepare and serve the Westrum House residents 2-3 meals a year.
At Paul Hazelton House in Saco, the Next Level Church provides tenants with hot monthly meals. The Saco-Biddeford Savings Institution recently prepared a several course meal for the clients and staff in our Veterans Services Programs, complete with "a tremendous number of star-spangled pies," according to program manager Michael Merrill. Randy Reynolds, a hairdresser at Bayview Heights in Portland, is purchasing and cooking all of the food for a House Thanksgiving dinner. More than 30 residents have signed up to attend.
Around Thanksgiving and Christmas, our own staff members often donate money and food, to ensure that our clients and residents can have the best possible holiday experiences.
At the Penobscot River House this year, staff purchased Thanksgiving turkeys and residents will cook them and contribute side dishes and pies. They are planning a feast for 50 people!
Stocking Food Pantries is Helpful
Canned fruit, boxed macaroni and cheese, cereals, dried fruits, flour for baking, chocolate chips...these are all easy gifts that can go a long way on a winter's night when it is too cold to go out or there is not enough money to purchase groceries. To see a listing of our residential properties with contact information, click here. If you would like to donate money to sponsor a meal; food and/or time to prepare and serve a meal; or drop off non-perishable items for a food pantry at one of our senior, behavioral health or veterans' programs, you may call the programs directly, or contact our administrative office at 207-373-1140.