The Salvation Army in El Paso County, COSILoveYou, Pikes Peak United Way and Care and Share Food Bank of Southern Colorado have created a food box delivery program for seniors 60 and older without transportation.
Care and Share is supplying the food — standard basic items — and all four organizations are delivering groceries to home-bound seniors throughout this month.
“We realized that vulnerable seniors are going hungry, and our goal is to provide groceries for them during the month of April,” said Brett Harrison, spokeswoman for the Salvation Army.
Anyone in need of a food box can call Pikes Peak United Way’s 211 resource line and request a delivery. Food will be delivered to their homes in 24 to 48 hours.
Deliverers will leave a food box at the door, ring the doorbell and leave the premises. If they do encounter a senior, they will maintain the recommended 6-foot distance to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The region’s primary agency serving residents ages 60 and above, Silver Key Senior Services, also is continuing its home food delivery program, Meals on Wheels, as well as offering “grab and go” pickup of five frozen meals a week at its Connections Cafés at 13 sites around the region.
Pickup groceries also are available at a food pantry at its offices, 1605 S. Murray Blvd.
The organization has seen “exponential increases” in demand for meals as well as other services, said Derek Wilson, director of development and donor relations for Silver Key Senior Services.
The normal 700 to 800 meals the kitchen prepares each day for delivery and pickup has grown to more than 1,000 daily, he said.
Phone calls to Silver Key’s information hotline, which averages 3,000 calls a month, have at least doubled and possibly will triple as a result of the coronavirus, Wilson said.
A $50,000 grant from the Pikes Peak Community Foundation Emergency Relief Fund, a local pot of donations benefiting nonprofits aiding vulnerable residents, is funding one month of meals and rides to doctors’ appointments, Wilson said.
“The takeaway is senior lives matter,” he said. “It’s something we’ve known for years, and the rest of the world is now realizing.
“Seniors are often the invisible, forgotten group, and their needs are great during this time. There’s a lot of fear and social isolation, and we need to guide and help them.”
Contact the writer: 719-476-1656.