Northside Youth And Senior Service Center, which typically serves roughly 600 home-bound seniors, is now serving nearly 1,000 seniors due to mandatory Stay at Home orders, increased referrals, and assistance provided to smaller centers, the agency stated.
Its clients are primarily African American and live in poor neighborhoods that have seen sharp rises in the number of people testing positive for COVID-19.
“We have been in constant contact with the Saint Louis Area Agency on Aging (SLAAA) since the Stay at Home orders were first given,” said Lynne Lane, Senior Center director.
“They made it clear that our role would be to help St. Louis meet the nutrition and health needs of St. Louis seniors during the crisis. The level of need, however, exceeded what we anticipated.”
She Northside is taking every precaution with staff and volunteers to ensure best practices are followed, as established by the City of St. Louis Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She said staff are practicing social distancing and performing wellness checkups on seniors via telephone.
“Most of our seniors live alone and would have trouble accessing a regular meal without our service,” said Larry King, a home delivered meal driver. “As a small not-for-profit, the increase has strained our financial and physical resources, but the urgency of the need gives us no other choice than to respond.”