I remember calling my grandma as a little girl, and how excited she would be to hear my voice! She was no longer able to drive and, being a widow, had very few opportunities to speak with people. I could tell how much it meant to her.
We take it for granted, the fact that we have people to speak with, hug and joke around with. During this pandemic, we have all experienced the shocking truth of what it feels like to be isolated.
We forget that homebound seniors face social isolation every day. But today, you can make a difference!
Providing Crucial Connection
Back in April, Bank of America donated a $20,000 grant to Meals on Wheels Collin County to help provide vital meals and other emergency services during the pandemic. We are incredibly grateful for this donation, but we are even more thankful that they didn’t stop there.
As Mandy Kizer, Community Relations Manager at Bank of America said, “The Bank was thrilled to step in and help not only with the grant but from a volunteer perspective as well.”
Over 200 Bank of America employees joined us in a new pilot program to conduct “well check” phone calls to homebound seniors during the pandemic. These phone calls are vital toward ensuring clients are doing well, their needs are met, and that they have a friendly voice to interact with. We have received so many compliments from our clients about how much this interaction has meant to them. They are craving it!
“Having someone to talk to is something a lot of us take for granted,” said Suma Govindacharyula, Audit Supervisor at Bank of America. “And getting to see how meaningful it was for some of these seniors, it helped remind us how important it is to be faithful to people.”
Why Well Check Phone Calls?
Loneliness and social isolation among seniors can have serious health impacts. It truly inhibits quality of life. Science tells us that loneliness among seniors is deadlier than smoking 15 packs of cigarettes a day. It is also highly associated with depression, dementia, and premature death.
The virtual well check opportunity connects volunteers with homebound seniors and disabled adults, almost like a buddy system.
These volunteers call the senior three times a week to make sure the senior is doing well and to check if they need anything. These needs are relayed to Meals on Wheels staff for follow-up. If a client does not answer the phone, Meals on Wheels staff can then reach out to the emergency contact to make sure the client is ok. These calls have the power to save lives.
This also becomes an opportunity for volunteers to personally connect with the Meals on Wheels mission, better understand what our clients are experiencing, and make a true difference in their lives!
The Impact of Bank of America’s Partnership
Meals on Wheels Collin County is grateful for Bank of America’s valuable partnership! Serving over 1,000 clients a month, we rely on a whole army of volunteers!
Thanks to Bank of America’s volunteer commitment, we saw the following impact:
- Participation from 222 Bank of America volunteers
- 1,748 phone calls made to high-risk seniors
- Over 1,700 hours of volunteer time
- An estimated $21,378 value of donated labor
- Over 250 clients impacted
- 84 especially high-impact phone calls leading to life-changing client interventions and emergency supply distribution
What are your hopes and dreams for seniors during the pandemic?
When asked this question, Theodore Hansen, VP Sr. Business Control Specialist with Bank of America referenced the fact that we have all gone through sacrifice during this season. Each one of us has experienced the challenges of social isolation, and it should give us a better perspective.
His wish is that homebound seniors’ family members and friends would better understand what seniors are experiencing. That they would “cherish those interactions a little more, and maybe contact them more frequently. To take the time to be in each other’s lives, having understood how it feels.”
Historically, homebound seniors are often forgotten. Finally, during this pandemic, “everyone can see things through their perspective.”
And that has made our lives so much richer.
How to Help
Through this unique volunteer opportunity, community members can:
- Connect with the Meals on Wheels mission in a deeply personal way
- Gain valuable insight into what the homebound senior adults are experiencing
- Make a true impact in the lives of local seniors