The importance of the Yellow Springs Senior Center (YSSC) to the Yellow Springs community has never been more evident. Because Yellow Springs has a large demographic of older adults who are the most vulnerable to COVID-19, many in our town have been, and remain, at risk for this deadly virus. Yet local older adults have stayed healthy and safe, at least partly due to the efforts of the YSSC.
While the Center shut its doors to the public in March in response to Governor DeWine’s mandate, the Center itself did not shut down. Rather, because of the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19, Executive Director Karen Wolford and the staff stepped up. The community’s most obvious need was food for older adults, who had been advised to stay home to avoid getting the virus. In response, the Center created and implemented, in collaboration with Tom’s Market, a grocery delivery system, taking orders and coordinating Center volunteers to shop and deliver food to older adults at no charge. At the start of the pandemic, the Center was making 60-65 deliveries a week, expanding its reach to whomever requested grocery delivery. Six months into the pandemic, about 30-35 weekly deliveries are still being made.
The Center stepped up to meet other needs as well. To help lessen fear and anxiety, YSSC made weekly phone calls to the membership, providing critical information. A new email system was launched that added another avenue for dispensing news. During the first weeks of the virus, older adults deemed most vulnerable received personal calls; later, volunteers made calls to all local older adults, just to check on how they were doing.
This pandemic requires new and quick thinking for not only keeping our community safe, but for meeting future needs as well. The YSSC is doing just that. While the Center is in the process of looking at a time to re-open with all safety precautions, Center leaders are also employing technology to provide YSSC classes online. Some classes have been meeting online for months, while others are being reconfigured to do so. Center staff and leaders continue to explore new and safe ways of providing services.
Even as the YSSC met these new challenges, its funding sources have diminished. The YSSC Homemaker Program, a source of annual funding, was suspended for months in the spring, cutting off that source of revenue. Likewise, the Center’s main fundraiser, the Garden Dinner Party in August, was cancelled due to the virus, as was a new fundraiser, the Spring Dance Marathon!
As YSSC board members, we are asking you in this critical time to step up, just as the Center has stepped up to respond to the virus. For this year’s Annual Appeal Campaign, we thank those of you who are regular contributors and ask, in the face of the Center’s rising challenges and declining revenue that you consider giving more this year. And for those who have not contributed yet, we want to emphasize that now is the time.
We thank you for your support.
Sincerely, Macy Reynolds, President Karen Wolford, Executive Director
YELLOW SPRINGS SENIOR CENTER
227 Xenia Ave. Yellow Springs, OH 45387 (937) 767-5751