What's New at Neighborhood
From the Desk of NF Director Susan Loucks:
The board and staff of Neighborhood Falmouth continue, like the rest of the community, to juggle the conflicting needs to stay home for safety, and to get out for appointments and sanity. We believe the reports that the coronavirus pandemic is far from over, so we continue to revise our protocols for members and volunteers being together.
This was easier when doctors’ offices and hair salons were closed. There were very few reasons to transport a member anywhere, except for urgent medical appointments, and since a largely new groups of volunteers has been grocery shopping for members since March, even many of our “senior” volunteers have chosen, wisely, to stay home. Now, with shops and offices reopening, there is more opportunity to get out, and we want to be sure we are maximizing safety for both members and volunteers.
Our current protocols require that both members and volunteers wear face masks when they are out together, and in the car. Hand sanitizer, along with masks, are available to all members and volunteers, and we urge maximum distancing whenever possible. Of course, given that members sometimes need an elbow, or someone to hold the door, both volunteers and members will do the best they can.
Neighborhood Falmouth hasn’t given up on holding some sort of fundraiser in the fall in an effort to recoup some of the funds not raised when the May gala was postponed. More as we know it.
And while social distancing and staying at home are key ingredients for keeping COVID-19 at bay, it challenges NF’s efforts to keep seniors socially connected, active and engaged. Our three-times-weekly Zoom calls with members continue. Four months in and we have created a coffee klatch of friends. Individual calls continue, though we wish we could help bridge the technology divide that keeps some from wanting to participate.
Finally, during this uncertain time, we continue to offer our services to any senior in Falmouth who needs our help with grocery shopping and urgent transportation. It’s been gratifying to be able to use the NF volunteer infrastructure to help the larger Falmouth community.
Protocols for NF Members and Volunteers During Coronavirus
At the beginning of June 2020, NF sent all members and volunteers a protocol outlining services and safety precautions as the COVID-19 epidemic enters a new phase. Our goal is to keep members and volunteers safe while respecting that member's access to health appointments, and other activities is important...Read Coronavirus Protocol
Neighborhood Falmouth Resilience Fund
Neighborhood Falmouth’s all-important spring fundraiser, Friends Helping Friends: A Night Out for Neighborhood Falmouth, has been necessarily postponed until the fall or later. Instead, we are buckling down to work, not just to continue providing services to our members, but reallocating resources to provide critical grocery shopping and medicine pick up services for any Senior in Falmouth who needs this help.
A core goal of Neighborhood Falmouth has always been to create social connection and combat loneliness. Today, and likely for some time to come, we are finding ways to mix “social distancing” and social connection at the same time -- a particular challenge with a group that is largely not “tech-comfortable”. We have stepped up our social outreach to members, with a newly created network of phone calls and friendly check ins. We have also begun daily group phone chats that provide a needed social outlet in what might be a very lonely time.
NF is also offering tech help (by phone) so Seniors can use technology that they may have at home but not have explored, focusing on sharing music and ideas, and providing them additional tools to communicate with others.
Thankfully, community members have stepped up to help NF provide additional services to keep the cupboards full, and the spirits lifted. But this change can only be accomplished at a real cost. We are adapting our systems to incorporate new volunteers and new service recipients. We must perform background checks of new volunteers, rewrite training materials, and distribute critical information on NF protocols and current essential safety precautions. As more and more Seniors make the wise choice to stay home instead of running their own errands, NF’s service circle continues to widen. We’re ready to help them, too.
The always-important work of Neighborhood Falmouth has never been so visible, and so necessary. But the increased need has come hand-in-hand with losing our spring fundraising revenue. We need your help! Please support Neighborhood Falmouth today, with a gift to the NF Resilience Fund. Your support will help us extend our services to any Falmouth Senior during this unprecedented time.
Thanks for being a part of our wonderful community. And when the extra work of this crazy time is behind us, we hope you will come party with us at the “Friends Helping Friends”Autumn Fundraiser. Together we’ll celebrate all that our Seniors give to us, and all the community gives.