When lockdown began in March 2020, Catholic Charities’ Hispanic Senior Center—which provides recreational and socialization activities for older Hispanic adults through the St. Augustine Towers—was forced to close its doors.
“Like other Catholic Charities staff, the HSC staff was confused and nervous with the information flowing in about COVID-19 and its effects, especially on older adults,” said Evelyn Santos, the center’s program coordinator. “But one thing that was on everyone’s mind was how we were going to continue feeding the seniors and also maintain our connection with them.”
The center’s staff wasted no time in coming up with a solution to continue providing helping and creating hope for its seniors.
“We decided to go outside and bring the meals to them at home,” said Evelyn.
They also developed creative ways to reduce the seniors’ feelings of isolation and loneliness. “We kept making telephone contact with the seniors, and we also delivered activities and art materials with full instructions on how to do them.”
Evelyn explained that despite the difficulties staff members faced at the start of the pandemic, they knew in their hearts that “something needed to be done for the seniors at home.”
“I can’t say we were the only ones [going out at the start of the pandemic], but I definitely can say we were some of the first ones out there,” she continued. “When everyone else was staying at home, you could see the HSC buses all over Cleveland bringing hope to our seniors.”
While the Hispanic Senior Center remains closed for in-person programming, its staff continues to deliver meals and activities to seniors throughout the community.
“They are real heroes of the pandemic,” Evelyn said.
To all the staff at the Hispanic Senior Center, thank you for your unwavering dedication to the seniors we serve. Your commitment to our mission has undoubtedly provided help and created hope for so many in our communities, especially during these trying times.