Nonprofit to aid struggling seniors

March 24, 2020 8:32 AM

As health experts increasingly caution people to take measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Libby-based Families in Partnership is hoping to make the crisis slightly more bearable for the community’s most vulnerable population.

The Libby-based nonprofit sprung into action last week after one of the organization’s founders asked whether its staff could provide support to Lincoln County’s elderly. Those over age 65 are particularly susceptible to the illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

“They were talking about services and what we can do and make sure they have groceries,” said Alexandra Eanes, executive director.

While local supermarkets have begun setting aside hours for the elderly to shop, “some of these people can’t get out of their homes,” she said. “Some of these people can’t get to the store. We’re just trying to deal with the most vulnerable group at this point.”

The nonprofit’s staff is now working with county officials to identify those in need, amass resources and arrange to deliver foodstuffs, Eanes said.

“Everybody is stepping up and doing their part,” she said.

Typically, a delivery person will bring a meal to the front door, wave at the homeowner through the window and leave the food on the front porch or step. There is no person-to-person contact, she said.

According to CDC statistics, eight out of 10 deaths related to COVID-19 have occurred in those 65 and older.

Residents who want to help with what Families in Partnership is calling the “Senior Love” campaign are encouraged to do so, Eanes said. Although the group accepts foodstuffs, the best way to help is by donating money, she said.

“If people can only donate food we’ll take it,” Eanes said. “Cash donations, at this point, would be best.”

She encouraged those interested in pitching in to write a check out to Families in Partnership and label it Senior Love and either drop it off at their Collins Avenue location or mail it to Families in Partnership Incorporated, P.O. Box 762, Libby, MT 59923. Receipts will be provided, Eanes said.

Residents who know of a senior citizen in need are encouraged to contact the nonprofit at 406-293-6242. If it goes to voicemail, leave a message, Eanes said. The eight-person team is busy ferrying supplies around the county, but they are following up on all messages, she said.

“If you know of a senior in need, call our office. We’re encouraging everyone to call us,” Eanes said. “As for who qualifies for this: We don’t have a qualification list. If you’re a senior and you need something, call us, and we’re going to work something out.”