Guest Editorial: Adopt-A-Grandparent and Other Opportunities for Compassion During COVID-19

By Recker McDowell —

Our communities need the spirits of compassion and kindness during the COVID-19 pandemic as the spirits of fear and worry grip our health care system, politics and economy.

There is no better place to start than with seniors. Seniors are among those most at risk from the Coronavirus. Fear of the virus can challenge seniors who need to pick up prescriptions or groceries. A significant number of seniors also work in retail and other jobs impacted by business shutdowns.

Communities are already stepping forward to help seniors. We just need to engage more businesses, residents and nonprofits to help our most vulnerable in this unprecedented time. Those efforts show the fabric of our communities (and community leaders) when there is an oversupply of fear and angst including over jobs and livelihoods.

The city of Mesa, for example, is launching an Adopt-A-Grandparent program to help seniors who might need help picking up prescriptions or food during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The city is partnering with For Our City – Mesa to help seniors as the virus threatens health and shuts down businesses. For Our City is a community nonprofit that includes faith, nonprofit, business and city advocates.

The Mesa program offers help for seniors with errands and shopping. This is the type of program needed across the country.

Other cities such as Scottsdale, Surprise and Phoenix as well as AARP Arizona also have programs and services to help seniors.

Shutdowns and ‘shelter in place’ actions by the state and local governments have closed senior centers across the Valley and country. Many seniors rely on those centers for meals, resources and social connections.

City governments are working with nonprofits and faith groups to still provide meals to seniors.

The city of Surprise is partnering with Meals of Joy for no-cost emergency home-delivered meals to vulnerable seniors. Residents in Surprise’s Senior Center Meal program can also still pick up meals at the city’s senior center or work or potentially get those delivered. The West Valley city is also partnering with Salvation Army for a daily drive-thru free hot breakfast and brown bag lunch program.

Scottsdale and Phoenix are also offering meal services to seniors despite senior centers being closed by the pandemic.

Other communities across Arizona are also working to help seniors and others impacted by the pandemic. We just need to see community leadership on this and other challenges including jobs.

It’s a chance for our communities and businesses to rise up and rise above this historic adversity.