Lennoxville Community Aid expanding programs in light of pandemic

By Reann Fournier, Special to The Record

Community Aid Lennoxville, an organization providing meals and support to seniors in the area, has remained a staple in the community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. While delivery procedures for meals have been adapted and volunteer positions have been added and adjusted to ensure public health guidelines are being respected, volunteers and community workers have been working to keep their organization operable during these difficult times.
Sylvie Fowlis, director of Lennoxville Community Aid, said that the organization has been maintaining social distancing and wearing masks to prevent the spread while continuing services. “We’ve maintained the basis of the services, but we have had to change the way we are delivering them,” she said. “We, of course, do not want to be the source of contamination for our clients or volunteers so we have been pushing the public health guidelines.”
According to Fowlis, there has been an increase of clients, especially at the beginning of the pandemic, to have meals delivered. “People just are not comfortable going out and getting groceries,” she said. “It requires more planning than before, so getting down to the grocery store is something a lot of people just wanted to avoid.”
Fowlis added that the organization has expanded due to the increase in clients, causing them to add more routes to their daily schedule and more volunteers to deliver services. “We have been lucky enough to receive a great response from the community. Young people, teachers,” she said. “Now that schools are back in and people are back to work, we have lost some of those people, so we are continuing to recruit volunteers.”
Fowlis added that the organization has also lost some regular volunteers who deal with pre-existing health conditions. “We have lost a few because of the pandemic,” she said, “so we are constantly recruiting more than ever.”
The organization also offers ‘friendly contacts’. These volunteers are support people for seniors who require moral support and companionship. Normally, friendly contacts would spend time directly with their client, but with the pandemic, this has changed. “Our visits are continuing, but they are done over the phone,” said Fowlis.
The pandemic has shed a light on how important Community Aid Lennoxville really is for those in the area, and there is talk about expanding their programs even further to include more support and workshops for seniors in technology. “We’re starting to do some zoom meetings with those who are comfortable, and we’re looking at reaching those who are more isolated,” said Fowlis.
She added that the organization has received funding to make this a reality, and that they would be looking into the logistics of providing this extra support in the coming weeks. “We are all dreading being so isolated again,” said Fowlis. “We’re all observing the safety guidelines to limit that chance, all while still providing support as best we can.”

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