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From our President & CEO: COVID-19 Update for LifeCare Alliance Volunteers and Supporters

June 8, 2020 UPDATE

SERVICE UPDATES

Meals-on-Wheels numbers continue to grow.  Our food production and delivery teams continue to amaze.  

  • Meal delivery has increased by 68% since March 1st.
  • The number of home delivered meal clients increased by 54% since March 1st.
  • Most meal service starts within 24 hours of receiving the contact or referral.
  • We continue to receive numerous requests for services daily, and we CONTINUE TO ACCEPT ALL THOSE WHO QUALIFY.  This contrasts with a recent survey by Meals-on-Wheels of America which reports that 55% of programs nationally have increased their already existing waitlists, with 22% of programs’ waitlists having doubled or more.
  • Meals delivered by week for the past several weeks are:
    • Week of 5/31-6/6  =  25,884
    • Week of 5/24-5/30  =  25,065
    • Week of 5/17-5/23  =  25,423
    • Week of 5/10-5/16   =  25,315
    • Week of 5/3-5/9  =  25,190
    • Week of 4/26-5/2  =  24,998
    • Week of 4/19-4/25  =  23,622
    • Week of 4/12-4/18  =  22,489
    • Week of 4/5-4/11  =  20,839
    • Week of 3/29-4/4  =  19,857
    • Week of 3/22-3/28  =  18,571
    • Week of 3/15-3/21  =  16,413
    • Week of 3/8-3/14  =  15,752
    • Week of 3/1-3/7  =  15,439

 The Columbus Cancer Clinic continues to add new families in need of pantry service.  Almost all pantry items are being delivered to client homes.

  • This represents a 53% increase in the number of individuals served since January and 77 new families.
  • The Columbus Cancer Clinic restarted regular mammograms Monday, May 18.
  • Total clients served by the CCC pantry:
    • January = 974 individuals with 10 new client pantry families
    • April = 1,492 individuals with 27 new client pantry families

The Central Ohio Diabetes Association camps will be held as VIRTUAL CAMP in 2020, and have developed a number of interesting activities.  Campers will be divided into small groups like their “cabins” and work with their counselors.  Staff is planning potential in person activities for later this year.

Wellness is restarting several services including Wellness Centers.  TeleHealth will continue, but Wellness Centers began seeing clients last week, in a safe manner.

Meals-for-Kids—We expect sites to begin reopening for summer. 

Our Senior Farmers’ Market will continue with coupons being mailed, instead of holding a distribution day.  The farmers will deliver the produce to us in bulk and we will deliver it, or clients can pick up. 

Senior PetCare continues to deliver pet food to clients in need for their dogs and cats.

L.A. Catering has developed several “take out” and new methods of delivering a safe catering, so please use them for your upcoming reopening and graduation events.  Everything can be individually boxed.  I hope you will use our LA Catering as you plan your events.

IMPACT Safety is providing on line programming in a number of areas.

VOLUNTEER UPDATES

We continue to receive new volunteers each day, and have received 1,500 new volunteer applications online since March 16. Volunteers have insured that all meals, pet food, and pantry items are delivered. We still need more as many are returning to work.   

LIFECARE ALLIANCE IN THE MEDIA

LifeCare Alliance President & CEO Chuck Gehring appeared on the Columbus Metropolitan Club virtual meeting on Wednesday, May 13 at noon, along with Dr. Lisa Courtice, CEO of United Way of Central Ohio. The moderator was Colleen Marshall of WCMH NBC4. The topic was “Nonprofits’ Frontline Response”. If you missed this, simply go to the Columbus Metropolitan Club website and click on the May 13 event. It is also rerun on some cable channels. Other media coverage can be found here.

Previous updates

March 23, 2020 Update

Dear friends,

Today, Meals-on-Wheels drivers and volunteers are sharing stories from the front lines, as they serve those most in need. We want to share a couple of these stories with you, our most faithful supporters.

“Clients have cried with gratitude when receiving their meals – they weren’t sure if we would be continuing with our deliveries.”

“Upon arriving to a home, I [volunteer] heard a client yelling for help. I called 911 and waited for the EMT to arrive. Once inside the home, I saw that the client was lying on the floor unable to get up.”

Your generosity makes this possible and we are grateful!

Yesterday, Governor DeWine announced a “Stay at Home” Order, beginning at 11:59 pm tonight. You may have questions about what this means for LifeCare Alliance and our critical daily services. Governor DeWine and the Federal government acknowledge our services as essential, which must go on. We will continue to provide food and basic needs services to home-bound neighbors. In fact, the need for Meals-on-Wheels continues to increase daily from multiple sources:

  1. individuals who are shifting from congregate dining center sites to now receive home-delivered meals,
  2. older adults who are temporarily home-bound due to COVID-19 precautions,
  3. and most recently, neighbors with developmental disabilities who typically attend adult day programs, but have been temporarily closed.

We have implemented significant changes to our services over the past week, taking steps for staff to work remotely, reducing or suspending non-essential tasks, and making modifications to essential tasks to ensure the maximum amount of precaution possible. As always, we invite you to stay connected and informed through our website, and via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Volunteers—we still need you!

Healthy adults who can deliver meals are key to the success of caring for homebound neighbors during this time. THANK YOU to the hundreds of people who have already stepped up to serve.  You are so valued and so needed, and we are grateful for your commitment and compassion to the most vulnerable in our community. Please take a moment to review the most current procedures and updates below for Meals-on-Wheels and Groceries-to-Go pantry deliveries.

Donors—we still need you!

Many of you have already stepped up so generously to give an extra gift to help support the increased demand.  THANK YOU! With your help, we are on the frontlines of this pandemic, and quite literally the hands and feet that are providing life-sustaining services. If you would like to make a donation, you may do so by:

  1. Giving online at: https://www.lifecarealliance.org/donate/online-donation/
  2. Sending a check to: LifeCare Alliance, 1699 W. Mound Street, Columbus, OH 43223

Thank you for standing with us during this most critical time to ensure that we can continue serving those most in need in our community.

Your partner in Nourishing the Human Spirit,

Charles W. Gehring,
President & CEO

IMPORTANT MEALS-ON-WHEELS, PANTRY, & VOLUNTEER UPDATES:

To ensure that basic needs are met, while also implementing as much social distancing as possible, volunteers are temporarily approved to knock/ring the doorbell and leave the meal at the door—with visual confirmation that the client receives the meal.

  • Exceptions:
    • If you encounter a client who is too frail to reach all the way down to retrieve the meal from the front doorstep, please assist that client with moving a small chair/table outside for future deliveries, thus reducing future contact.
    • If you encounter a client who is bed-bound, please proceed with direct hand-off.
  • Temperature Checks: Due to the shortage of thermometers, we ask that volunteers check their temperature from home before arriving to volunteer.
  • We continue to need volunteers to delivery daily. We have established rapid response volunteer training sessions to help onboard new volunteers quickly and seamlessly.
    • New volunteers can begin by completing our online application here and attending an 11:00 am training at 670 Harmon Avenue, Columbus, OH 43223. Training will occur daily and volunteers may have the opportunity to deliver a route that day if there are openings.
    • Existing volunteers can sign up for an open route at any time online at: https://lifecare.mowscheduler.com/helpwanted
  • The Groceries-to-Go food pantry has moved to curbside pick-up and home delivery Monday – Friday, and is also in need of volunteers.  Volunteers are needed for both delivery and packing and preparation, and can apply and get started via the process noted above.

ADDITIONAL SERVICE UPDATES:

  • As telehealth options increase, our staff is putting measures in place to ensure that wellness and diabetes consultations can take place by phone.
  • Columbus Cancer Clinic activities have been modified so that essential functions like diagnostic screenings and food pantry assistance can continue. Non-essential screenings and activities have been suspended.
  • Help-at-Home services have been significantly reduced or modified to provide only essential tasks with as much precaution as possible.
  • Carrie’s Café is closed until further notice.
  • Congregate Dining Centers are closed and clients are now being moved to home-delivered meals.

ONGOING REMINDERS FOR VOLUNTEERS:

  • Please continue to observe the recommendation that volunteers not involve children in delivery at this time. If you must bring children on the route, please ensure that they stay in the car and not go up to the door.
  • If you have specific questions or concerns regarding your route or volunteering, please contact us at mowdriverssupervisors@lifecarealliance.org or 614-437-2891.
  • If you have known exposure, or are experiencing or exhibiting symptoms consistent with Coronavirus, according to the CDC—fever, shortness of breath, cough—we ask that you please stay home and not risk exposing others to possible illness. Please notify us via Meals-on-Wheels Scheduler, or the above contact information if you need to cancel.
  • Please practice the recommended precautions from the CDC – proper hand washing for at least twenty seconds, covering coughs/sneeze with your arm, staying home when sick, and avoiding exposure to others who are sick.

March 19, 2020 Update

To LifeCare Alliance Volunteers and Supporters:

We continue to navigate daily adjustments for COVID-19 precautions. Our highest priority is maintaining the most critical basic services for those who need daily food and care, while making necessary changes to modify or temporarily suspend non-critical services. Volunteer and program updates are ever-changing, and staff are preparing for increased work-from-home capacity wherever possible. Please take a moment to review our most recent update below and stay informed by visiting our website and following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay informed.

IMPORTANT MEALS-ON-WHEELS, PANTRY, & VOLUNTEER UPDATES:

The need for Meals-on-Wheels continues to increase daily—both from our congregate dining center clients who are now receiving home-delivered meals, and from an increased need in the community from older adults who are temporarily home-bound due to COVID-19 precautions.  To ensure that basic needs are met, while also implementing as much social distancing as possible, volunteers are temporarily approved to knock/ring the doorbell and leave the meal at the door—with visual confirmation that the client receives the meal.

Exceptions:

    • If you encounter a client who is too frail to reach all the way down to retrieve the meal from the front doorstep, please assist that client with moving a small chair/table outside for future deliveries, thus reducing future contact.
    • If you encounter a client who is bed-bound, please proceed with direct hand-off.

Concerns:

    • If you have a concern for the well-being of a client, please report that to Meals-on-Wheels staff by:
      • Making a note on the delivery record.
      • Completing an observation report.
      • Calling the driver supervisors at 614-437-2891.

Temperature Checks coming soon! We are working to get thermometers onsite, and will begin taking temperatures upon entry to all of our buildings.

We continue to need volunteers to delivery daily. We have established rapid response volunteer training to help on-board new volunteers quickly and seamlessly.

  • New volunteers can begin same-day by completing our online application here and attending a 11:00 am training at 670 Harmon Avenue, Columbus, OH 43223. Training will occur daily for any new volunteers to join that day.
  • Existing volunteers can sign up for an open route at any time online at: https://lifecare.mowscheduler.com/helpwanted

The Groceries-to-Go food pantry has moved to curbside pick-up and home delivery. Volunteers are needed for both delivery and packing and preparation, and can apply and get started via the process noted above.

ADDITIONAL SERVICE UPDATES:

  • As telehealth options increases, our staff is putting measures in place to ensure that wellness and diabetes consultations can take place by phone.
  • Columbus Cancer Clinic activities have been modified so that essential functions like diagnostic screenings and food pantry assistance can continue. Non-essential screenings and activities have been suspended.
  • Help-at-Home services have been significantly reduced or modified to provide only essential tasks with as much precaution as possible.
  • Carrie’s Café is closed until further notice.
  • Congregate Dining Centers are closed and clients are now being moved to home-delivered meals.

ONGOING REMINDERS FOR VOLUNTEERS:

  • Please continue to observe the recommendation that volunteers not involve children in delivery at this time. If you must bring children on the route, please ensure that they stay in the car and not go up to the door.
  • If you have specific questions or concerns regarding your route or volunteering, please contact us at mowdriverssupervisors@lifecarealliance.org or 614-437-2891.
  • If you have known exposure, or are experiencing or exhibiting symptoms consistent with Coronavirus, according to the CDC—fever, shortness of breath, cough—we ask that you please stay home and not risk exposing others to possible illness. Please notify us via Meals-on-Wheels Scheduler, or the above contact information if you need to cancel.
  • Please practice the recommended precautions from the CDC – proper hand washing for at least twenty seconds, covering coughs/sneeze with your arm, staying home when sick, and avoiding exposure to others who are sick.

HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT:

Thank you to those who have already stepped up to support!  We are truly in this together as a community—and our staff and clients are feeling that sentiment in very real ways right now.  While our staff is being stretched daily to implement new procedures to ensure that those most in need receive care during this time, we are also acutely aware that there has never been a time in recent history where critical missions like ours has been at the center of national discussion.  People everywhere are getting a small glimpse of what home-bound neighbors face daily.

  • Volunteers are our biggest need right now.  If you are able to help, please sign up to volunteer through the process indicated above.
  • Like many in our community, we are already seeing significant impact from the implications of COVID-19, by way of revenue losses, cancellations, etc.  If you would like to make a donation, please do so by:

Your partner in Nourishing the Human Spirit,

Charles W. Gehring,
President & CEO

March 16, 2020 Update

To LifeCare Alliance Volunteers and Supporters:

As COVID-19 continues to spread, and officials continue to recommend increased social distancing and closures, LifeCare Alliance is monitoring the situation.  We are making adjustments to critical nutrition and health services that we provide daily.  As you know, our clients are among the most vulnerable in our community—and thus, the need for our services to continue is paramount.  Thank you for your continued support to ensure that those most in need can receive basic needs during this time.  Please take a moment to review our most recent update below to learn how we are continuing to both protect and provide for the wellbeing of our clients, staff, and volunteers.  You can also see current updates by visiting our website and following us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram to stay informed.

PROGRAM UPDATES:

  1. Most core programs and services are currently still operating, within the recommended parameters set by our state and local officials. As long as we are able, we plan to continue services, with an emphasis on the most basic needs, such as food.  As service changes arise, we will continue to keep our community updated, and communicate specifically with impacted service areas.  Agency and program leadership is continuing to put both process and reporting protocols in place, to ensure that we can make any necessary modifications going forward.
  2. Current program closures/alterations:
    • Carrie’s Café is closed, effective Monday, March 16, 2020.
    • Congregate Dining Centers will be closed by Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Dining center clients will have the option to receive home-delivered meals.
    • Our Groceries-to-Go food pantry is taking steps to move completely to curbside pick-up and home delivery. Additional details will be provided soon.

IMPORTANT MEALS-ON-WHEELS DELIVERY UPDATE:

  1. We have received guidance from our regulatory bodies and funders.  In the interest of public health, Meals-on-Wheels programs statewide have been given permission to temporarily suspend the customer signature requirement at time of meal delivery.  This means that the volunteer’s signature on the delivery record will suffice until the risk level lessens.  As the situation continues to develop and evolve throughout central Ohio, we will keep you all posted through email and delivery record alerts.
  2. Medical experts have shared that children can be carriers, even without exhibiting symptoms, so we recommend that volunteers not involve children in delivery at this time. If you must bring children on the route, please ensure that they stay in the car and not go up to the door.
  3. We continue to need volunteers to delivery daily. We have established rapid response volunteer training to help on-board new volunteers quickly and seamlessly.
    • New volunteers can begin same-day by completing our online application here and attending a 10:00 am training at 670 Harmon Avenue, Columbus, OH 43223. Training will occur daily for any new volunteers to join that day.
    • Existing volunteers can sign up for an open route at any time online at: https://lifecare.mowscheduler.com/helpwanted

ONGOING REMINDERS FOR VOLUNTEERS:

  1. Should meal routes or other activities be further altered, we will proactively communicate with volunteers who are scheduled or impacted by the change. Please watch for future updates. If you have specific questions or concerns regarding your route or volunteering, please contact us at mowdriverssupervisors@lifecarealliance.org or 614-437-2891.
  2. If you are experiencing or exhibiting symptoms consistent with Coronavirus, according to the CDC—fever, shortness of breath, cough—we ask that you please stay home and not risk exposing others to possible illness. Please notify us via Meals-on-Wheels Scheduler, or the above contact information if you need to cancel.
  3. Please practice the recommended precautions from the CDC – proper hand washing for at least twenty seconds, covering coughs/sneeze with your arm, staying home when sick, and avoiding exposure to others who are sick.

HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT:

  1. Volunteers are our biggest need right now. If you are able to help, please sign up to volunteer through the process indicated above.
  2. Like many in our community, we are already seeing significant impact from the implications of COVID-19, by way of revenue losses, cancellations, etc. If you would like to make a donation, please do so by:

Times like these shine a spotlight on the critical importance of LifeCare Alliance’s services—today and every day—and we are grateful for your partnership. YOU make it possible to uphold our mission and to care for central Ohio neighbors most in need. Thank you for your care, concern, and commitment during this unprecedented time.

Your partner in Nourishing the Human Spirit,

Charles W. Gehring
President and CEO

March 10, 2020 Update

A Special Message to LifeCare Alliance Volunteers and Supporters:

Thank you for being on the front lines of serving our homebound seniors each day throughout central Ohio.  As the state of Ohio now has confirmed cases of COVID-19, we want to share an important update with you as we continue to closely monitor the risk and spread of the coronavirus.

We continue to take important steps to plan for possible scenarios, and receive daily updates from the Ohio Department of Health, Franklin County Board of Health, and Columbus Public Health.  Our leadership team is in regular communication with necessary partners and parties to keep a pulse on the situation and risk.  Please take a moment to read a few important updates below.

  • All agency programs are currently operating normally and we do not anticipate a disruption in services. However, out of an abundance of caution, we are planning for contingency scenarios, as well as taking appropriate precautions to ensure the health and well-being of our clients, as well as our dedicated staff and volunteers.
  • Should meal routes or other activities be altered, we will proactively communicate with volunteers who are scheduled or impacted by the change. Please watch for future updates, should we have new information to share.  If you have specific questions or concerns regarding your route or volunteering, please contact us at mowdriverssupervisors@lifecarealliance.org or 614-437-2891.
  • If you are experiencing or exhibiting symptoms consistent with the coronavirus, according to the CDC — fever, shortness of breath, cough — we ask that you please stay home and not risk exposing others to possible illness. Please notify us via Meals-on-Wheels Scheduler, by email at mowdriverssupervisors@lifecarealliance.org, or by phone at 614-437-2891 if you need to cancel for your route.
  • Please practice the recommended precautions from the CDC — proper handwashing for at least twenty seconds, covering coughs/sneezes with your arm, staying home when sick, and avoiding exposure to others who are sick.

Like many of you, we are concerned for those most vulnerable among us, many of whom are the clients we serve.  Know that we are committed to serving our clients as long as we are able, while taking steps to modify or alter service deliver if/when necessary.  Thank you for your shared concern.  We will provide future updates as new information becomes available.

Your partner in Nourishing the Human Spirit,

Charles W. Gehring,
President and CEO

Click the photo above for information on COVID-19 from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

Click the Franklin County Public Health logo above for local COVID-19 updates.

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