Welcome visitors bring gifts at Forest Park Manor
On a recent sunny afternoon, residents at Springfield Housing Authority’s Forest Park Manor were treated to goodie bags on a recent sunny afternoon.
The brightly colored red and blue bags were hand delivered to the doors of all 116 units of the housing for elderly and handicapped residents. During these COVID-19 pandemic times, the gifts from several local agencies were a blessing.
Several local businesses and vendors participated, including Fallon Health, Louis & Clark Medical Supply, Springfield Partners for Community Action, A Better Life Homecare, Springfield Pharmacy, Mason Wright and New England Medical Transportation.
Bags filled with medical service information and items including paper towels, toilet paper, a face mask, hand sanitizer and a water bottle were included in each bag.
SHA Executive Director Denise R. Jordan said the hand-delivered bags were welcome gifts to the elderly and disabled residents who don’t have an easy time getting out to shop, particularly during these times.
“We are so grateful to the vendors and local business people who stepped up to the plate to help our residents during times like these,” Jordan said. “For those who cannot get out regularly to do their shopping, this was perfect.”
The informational literature and gift items are things typically given out at events held regularly in community rooms at SHA developments that are home to elderly and handicapped residents.
SHA Resident Services Coordinator Candra Cripps said she helped organize the door-to-door even with Claudia Lora of Better Life Homecare, in the hopes of giving residents some of the information and items they normally would be getting in a group format.
“Claudia reached out to me about it, and I thought it was a great idea,” Cripps said. “These are scary times for all of us, and it’s harder for elderly people who don’t always have the means to get out. With this we are bringing things they need right to their doors.”
With bags piled high into a golf cart, volunteers from the agencies fanned out to residents doors, knocked and gave greetings in both English and Spanish.
For their part, residents were very happy for the unexpected visits.
“Resident Sheila Babin expressed quick gratitude when Sylvia Ruiz of Fallon Health came to her door with a bright blue bag.
“This is very nice. Thank you so much,” Babin said. “I’m very happy about this. We don’t get out much now so this really helps.”
At a nearby apartment, resident Carmen Diaz had a similar reaction.
“Thank you so much,” she said as Lora handed her a red bag.
“This is just great. I appreciate this so much,” Diaz added.
Lora said she suggested the outreach to help elderly and handicapped residents feel connected to their community, and to offer needed information about services available in the city. And also, she added, to get a few supplies that are sure to come in handy.
“We know that the pandemic has affected specific communities more than others, like the elderly and those living with disabilities,” Lora explained. “We are taking a holistic approach to this by involving as many agencies as we can, and uniting in this effort to reach out to those communities.”
Among those participating in the door-to-door event was Tobias Billups, owner of Springfield Pharmacy. He said he was happy to reach out to residents at Forest Park.
“I’m here to help those people in need, and to give them things that may be hard for them to get,” Billups said. “Our goal is to give back to the people in our own community.”
Billups’ pharmacy has three locations, two in Springfield and one in Holyoke. It is an independent, full-service facility.
Cripps called the afternoon event a complete success, saying it gave many residents a few things they may need, and the knowledge that their community is behind them, even during a pandemic.
“Residents were very pleased for the visits,” Cripps said. “Having someone come to your door with a few household items, some information they can use, can make all the difference. We appreciate this group for stepping up to help others.”
Copyright © 2013-2020 Springfield Housing Authority. All Rights Reserved.