This month, we held a roundtable conversation with three of Community Living Campaign’s amazing Community Connectors. We heard from Deb Glen of the Oceanview-Merced-Ingleside (OMI) Food Delivery Network, Margaret Graf of Senior Power in Sunset/Parkside, and Darlene Ramlose of Miraloma Park Community Connectors. These leaders invited us to listen and learn about what Resilient Neighborhoods look like in virtual environment we are living under during this COVID-19 pandemic. The common thread among all our Connectors is their deep roots in their neighborhoods prior to the pandemic.
OMI Food Network Keeps Delivering Groceries Every Week
With the Shelter in Place Order for San Francisco residents, the OMI Food Network faced a number of challenges: most of the neighborhood volunteers are older adults vulnerable COVID-19, and the Minnie and Lovie Ward Recreation Center where they had been packing groceries was needed for childcare for essential workers. And of course, they needed to make sure they could pack and deliver groceries in a way that is safe for staff, volunteers and recipients.
The intergenerational OMI Food Delivery team, which includes two sets of parents and their adult children, has been working together for years. They adapted quickly to the new reality. They relocated outside to the parking lot of the local Catholic Charities. Deb and her team use a camper to store supplies, set up tables to pack the 80 grocery bags, and organized their weekly Tuesday food delivery to neighborhood seniors and people with disabilities. The dedicated group is continuing an effort started in 2009, delivering groceries, making weekly check-in calls, and creating connections within the larger community: from the volunteers who help pack and deliver groceries to neighborhood activities and other local resources.
Miraloma Park Community Connectors Works Closely with Organized Neighbors to Help Vulnerable Residents
Moving a few miles to Miraloma Park, Darlene stated that 32% of the residents have at least one senior in their household. Darlene brings her background in working with older adults, nutrition, and emergency preparedness to her work in the community. Soon after she moved to the neighborhood, she got involved with Miraloma Park’s Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT). When the neighborhood organized with District 7 Supervisor Yee’s office to get funding for a Community Connector Network, Darlene joined CLC as to help lead the network.
During this pandemic, Miraloma Park’s team of Community Connectors, NERT team-Block Champions, Miraloma Park Improvement Club members, and senior volunteers have come together – a combined force in making calls, sending emails, shopping for shut-in neighbors and working with Supervisor Yee in the SOS program to make Wellness Calls to seniors. In addition, the Miraloma Park Community Connector members join in CLC’s Zoom-based exercise and other activities, and are still gathering (virtually) every week for Ukulele lessons. This month, Darlene will also be facilitating discussions on senior nutrition every other Tuesday.
Senior Power Transitions from In-Person Meetings to Calls, Virtual Workshops, and Weekly Resource Updates
Traveling west near the ocean in the Sunset/Parkside neighborhood, Margaret is one of our newest Connectors. An energetic longtime resident with an impressive career spanning nursing and law, Margaret founded Senior Power about 18 months ago to address the lack of neighborhood resources for Parkside seniors (with 31% living alone). She has worked closely with People of Parkside Sunset (POPS)–the local merchant’s association– and District 4 Supervisor Mar to support the diverse population of older adults and caregivers in her community.
With the start of the pandemic, Margaret had to shift from monthly meetings at the Parkside police station to a virtual presence. Her weekly newsletters have become a great source of information for local residents, with a selection of resources, reflections on the current crisis, and suggestions for activities neighbors can join from home. As part of this effort, Margaret investigated the variety of email service providers and taught herself how to send out regular emails to her list of neighbors (with regular mail versions for those who aren’t online). Margaret also sought out a way to connect neighbors to important COVID-19 information by organizing and facilitating a noon Zoom call every Friday with Dr. Anna Chodos, a UCSF geriatrician: Dr. Chodos Chats-Seniors & Coronavirus (Virtual).
Resilient Neighborhoods Throughout San Francisco Rely on Older Adults
Throughout the City, there are older adults working with their neighbors to support homebound residents and build stronger communities. We invite you to join us for another Resilient Neighborhoods roundtable on Tuesday, June 16th, 3:30-4:30 pm.