That’s what friends are for
For more than 40 years, the Golden Circle has been a gathering place; a community hub for thousands of seniors in Red Deer and central Alberta. So, when COVID-19 hit and the Circle was forced to shut its doors and suspend programming, it left a significant void in the community.
The organization could easily have closed up shop and waited for the pandemic to pass. But staff knew that wasn’t an option; they had too many seniors relying on them. So, the Circle did what many businesses and non-profits are doing amidst COVID-19: they adapted and found new ways to deliver their services. Instead of seniors coming to the Golden Circle, the Golden Circle would come to them.
“Our kitchen has just been pumping out frozen meals like crazy,” says Monica Morrison, Executive Director. “We do an average of 350 to 400 a week, some weeks 600. We’ve also been supplying frozen meals to other communities around central Alberta, Sylvan Lake, Lacombe, Delburne, and Red Deer County.”
Morrison and her team recruited a small army of volunteers – more than two dozen of them. For the past several weeks, not only have they been delivering meals, but also picking up essentials and doing house calls to make sure our city’s seniors are taken care of during the pandemic.
“My staff are doing wellness checks to make sure that everyone’s doing okay, we set up a telephone-friendly visiting program for those that are having a hard time with isolation and need someone to visit with, they’re delivering groceries, delivering meals.”
On Friday, seniors and supporters of the Golden Circle did something they haven’t been able to since mid-March. They gathered at the Golden Circle – outside and at a socially safe distance, to say thank-you. Thank-you to the volunteers who are donating their time and resources to provide these services.
“It was emotional for me when I saw everyone standing out here,” Morrison admits. “I know people are having a hard time, I know people want to get back into the Circle. When that’s going to happen, we just don’t know.”
Local radio station Big 105 joined in the celebration with a special message to the Circle’s volunteers followed by the Dionne Warwick classic “That’s what friends are for”, as supporters rolled down their windows, turned up the volume and sang along.
“I really do feel the love for the organization and what we mean to the community,” says Morrison.
If you can help the Golden Circle continue delivering outreach services and supporting Central Alberta seniors during the pandemic, the organization is gratefully accepting donations over the phone. Call the Golden Circle at 403-343-6074 or visit www.goldencircle.ca.