Having a volunteer-a friendly and familiar face-is one quality that sets us apart from other organizations. The other quality is our services are available at no cost to the Seniors we help. A large part of that is due to our great volunteers. When a volunteer is not available, and with 33+ ride requests each week it happens, we cover the cost of Alternative Transport.
- $25 is the average cost each ride when a volunteer is not available.
- 531 rides were possible thanks to the Alternative Transport option in 2017.
Most often this alternative transport is us covering the cost of taxi cab ride. More affordable options are utilized when available. Since the majority of ride requests are for doctor's appointments, its crucial that our Seniors be able to make it. Most of them live at income level where paying for a taxi cab or ride-sharing service, is not possible.
HESSCO has approximately 500 seniors over age 60 who receive Meals on Wheels through our nutrition program. For many of these seniors, HESSCO is the primary source of their nutrition on each day they receive the meal. When there is a weather emergency, the program sometimes cannot deliver meals because the catering company or the local senior centers where we host our programs close, or the volunteers cannot safely travel the roads. To prepare for these weather events, HESSCO purchases shelf-stable emergency meals. At the start of the winter season, each senior who receives Meals on Wheels, also receives two shelf-stable emergency meals. If HESSCO cannot deliver the hot noon meal due to weather, the seniors can consume their emergency meal. If HESSCO cannot deliver hot meals for more than two days, more emergency meals are purchased and distributed. HESSCO also provides local police and fire departments with a supply of emergency meals. In 2017-2018 winter season, HESSCO provided 2000 emergency meals. HESSCO will always work to ensure no senior is hungry. The expense of the emergency meals is not funded through any federal or state program and thus, HESSCO incurs the full cost because of our commitment to serve the nutrition needs of seniors.
On Thanksgiving and Christmas, HESSCO staff, Town of Walpole School Department staff, and other community groups volunteer their time to deliver a free, hot meal to any senior in our community who is alone for the holiday. The only expense of this program is the cost of the food as all of the groups involved donate their time. These holiday meals provide the opportunity for an isolated senior to have a friendly visit with a volunteer and receive a hot, holiday meal. This program is open to any senior in the HESSCO service area who will be alone for the holiday. The opportunity to sign-up for the program is distributed to area churches, senior centers and community groups prior to both Thanksgiving and Christmas. In 2017, HESSCO delivered over 150 meals on Thanksgiving and another 150 on Christmas. The seniors who receive this meal express their gratitude through tears, hugs, smiles and holiday well-wishes. HESSCO never has difficulty finding staff and other groups to donate their time because all involved know they have made a senior a little less lonely.
Terrific Tuesdays Day Club program is staffed with a paid director, trained community volunteers and nursing students from local universities. This program is designed to meet the needs of both the person with dementia and their caregiver. Members have a sense of engagement while participating in memory-enhancing activities honoring their life stories. This program allows them the opportunity to reminisce and socialize with others while participating in non-aerobic exercise and creative, purposeful activities. They are also able to experience sensory stimulation and cook simple meals.
Research proves that cognitive and social stimulation improves mood and cognition and delays regression of activities in daily living for individuals with dementia. This means caregivers are able to give care at home for longer and delay residential facility placement. Caregivers also benefit with a break to recharge, relax, maintain relationships with friends, and maintain their own health by keeping up with personal doctor visits and more.
Food Plus Program:
Food boxes are available at the mission once a month for income eligible seniors. Seniors are able to receive this addiontal box as well as a weekly food box and are able to shop in our produce market. Deliveries are made to a several local senior living complexes for seniors who are homebound and unable to drive to the food pantry to receive assistance.