In these unprecedented times, local non-profit Council on Aging has been relying more than ever upon the generous support of the community to help in their efforts to be there for St. Johns County elders.
Last month, Matthew Galen from the non-profit organization Farm Share contacted COA with an idea for a way to help homebound seniors.
Established in 1991, Farm Share is a charitable organization that works with donors and Florida farmers to make sure that no Floridian goes hungry and no food goes to waste. When disasters strike, Farm Share also provides support as a reliable responder. The organization was in receipt of a supply of toiletries that Matthew thought might be of use to seniors who are homebound.
Matthew, who grew up in Ponte Vedra Beach, contacted family friend, Bruce Barber, who put him in touch with COA. Matthew then reached out to his friend, Perry Kenney, who is the Assistant General Manager at Sawgrass Country Club. Perry enlisted the help of kitchen staff to put together approximately 600 toiletry kits.
The kits, containing toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, shaving products and other personal hygiene items, were delivered by the team to COA, which distributed the kits to Meals on Wheels participants all over St. Johns County.
They were a welcome surprise to the homebound elders.
One Meals on Wheels recipient shared, "When I got that care package bag this Tuesday, I just felt like it was better than Christmas opening all those things!"
“I saw the need with seniors in the current crisis,” Matthew explained. “I am so happy we were able to get these items to the people who need them now.”
COA Executive Director, Becky Yanni, expressed her gratitude to the organizations for their generosity.
“These items will mean a great deal to seniors in need,” she said. “The comfort and dignity they will afford homebound seniors are truly immeasurable in value.”
If you would like to join in helping elders in St. Johns County receive the support they need, donations are especially needed now. Donations may be made by visiting COA’s website at www.coasjc.org, or may be mailed to COA at 180 Marine St., St. Augustine, FL 32084. For more information and for other ways to help, please contact COA’s Tom Torretta at email@example.com.
If you or someone you know is in need of COA’s assistance, please contact COA at 904-209-3700 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Receptionists are standing by Monday through Friday, from 8am to 5pm, to take calls and direct individuals to the staff and resources they need. They are also available for a friendly chat in these difficult and unprecedented times.