I wasn’t sure if I picked the right day or the wrong day to call Lori Phelps at Clare County Senior Services. She let me know by email their urgent need for freezer space, so I called to ask questions about what was going on. The pandemic hasn’t lessened the passion to care for seniors in Clare county.
It was 12 years ago today Lori began to lay the groundwork for the senior services program for Clare county. It launched a year later on October 1, 2009.
Phelps recently ordered two deep freezers to store extra meals for the Meals on Wheels program. Those freezers are scheduled to be delivered in January and she cannot find freezers to buy locally.
Additional meals are being made and stored. “We want to be able to deliver a frozen with a hot each day we can, if there is an interruption in service they would have an extra meal on hand."
From the beginning of COVID-19 Phelps has taken precautions and thought of contingency plans to deliver meals and provide services-no matter what. That has included herself and other office staff doing a Meals on Wheels route when they have been short staffed and lacking in volunteers. Their COVID-19 protocols were never relaxed, and they have followed strict procedures so they can stay healthy.
The freezer space would allow up to 14 meals per person served to be stored in case of emergency or a shut down if a staff member were infected with COVID-19. The walk-in freezer they currently use cannot accommodate that kind of volume.
Phelps anger and sadness rises and falls as she talks to me about their seniors being affected by COVID-19. At the least it’s isolating seniors and taking a toll on their mental health. At the worst they have lost clients they have served for over ten years. Those losses are hard.
“I get so upset that the elderly do not seem to matter and are dismissed in our country. The elder generation should be revered and taken care of the way they have taken care of us.”
She notes the outbreak at Northwoods and that her staff has lost elderly family members to COVID-19, and that some people don’t seem to care that the elderly population that is hardest hit by the pandemic.
The additional freezer space would bring peace of mind to the program that extra meals were on hand.
“These are the things that do keep me up at night.” Phelps wants to make sure all the bases are covered so they can continue to serve their clients.