Longest Spring Break in History
by Teresa Jackson on July 31st, 2020

This year has created a conundrum as far as time is concerned! When I was a child, a single day felt like a week -- especially if we were planning a trip to Six Flags the next day! But, as I have matured, time seems to have accelerated with each passing day, feeling more like a blink than a 24-hour period. When I was younger, the adults in my life told me to expect this. As most kids do, I gave it little thought until I reached a certain age. This year of 2020 is a crazy, strange mix of time moving more slowly than ever before and racing by so quickly! Sheltering at home makes the days seem to last forever; yet today is July 31! How can that be? The last time I checked we were packing Spring Break backpacks filled with nutritious food so kids could enjoy those important meals that they typically receive at school. Yet, when I look at the calendar, it says July 31. This has been the longest Spring Break in the history of Spring Breaks!

All of this talking about the passage of time caused me to think about how our senior friends are faring during the pandemic. So many seniors were fairly isolated before the shelter safely at home precautions began. Trips to the grocery store, nail/beauty salon, pharmacy, church, or senior center were the highlights of their week. Before the pandemic, Friday was our special day at Sharing Life reserved for seniors and people with disabilities. We loved Fridays and looked forward to seeing our older friends. Some of our guests would bring cards or dominoes and play while waiting to shop in our food pantry or clothes closet. They made friends at Sharing Life and shared advice on where to get the best deal on tires or oil changes -- and loved to recommend their favorite new student at the beauty school for bargain haircuts. They talked about their children and grandchildren; they prayed together with staff and one another. They often told us how important it was to their budget to be able to come to Sharing Life and shop for food and clothes on a regular basis. That usually meant once or twice per month. We brought in other organizations to offer services like blood pressure checks, Medicare benefit education, or fraud alerts about scams that target senior citizens. We also made sure we left plenty of room in our financial assistance budget to help our senior friends with their utility bills and rent. We are still providing food and helping with financial requests but we often feel concerned about the mental health of our friends as they shelter at home. We are looking forward to the time when we can open our doors to in person services.

In the near future, we will be sharing some statistics about the number of seniors we serve and how we serve them. Oftentimes, statistics can be dry and less than compelling. However, I wanted to remind you today that seniors are often hidden from our busy lives. This is particularly true during the pandemic. Please check on your neighbors. A phone call or socially distanced conversation in the front yard might make someone’s day. Make sure they have enough food and are staying cool during the summer heat. If you learn of a need, please let us know. We want to help. God may be using you to sustain and rescue the ones he loves.

"Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you;  I will sustain you and I will rescue you." Isaiah 46:4 NIV

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