The holidays are hard on seniors who find themselves alone during the holidays. The GRACE Friends & Family program focuses on isolated seniors, 55 years old and older, and disabled clients to help them live comfortably and independently.
Last Saturday, youth groups from Compass Christian Church joined GRACE in making Christmas jollier for some local senior women. A group of 14- and 15-year olds organized a caroling troupe and made the rounds to Friends & Family clients.
Tom Panno, one of the adult volunteer leaders, said the troupe was a little timid at first, “but warmed up and eventually started asking for requests.”
“Many [seniors] were singing right along with us,” said Tom, president of Independence Custom Homes in Colleyville. “One woman even offered us hot chocolate.”
Tom recounted after they had left her house, “One of my boys said, ‘did we really just turn down chocolate?’.”
What the troupe missed in chocolate, they gained in hugs from the seniors according to Kate Purdy and Carol Stovall, two of the other adult volunteers leading the group along with Tom.
The GRACE Friends & Family program assists with “commodities” every month—food and other supplies delivered directly to the seniors’ homes. GRACE also provides food vouchers, clothing, walkers, wheel chairs, rent, utilities and prescriptions.
These needs are important for seniors on a very fixed income and who may suffer from isolation.
Volunteer “matches” are made when a volunteer and a Friends & Family client are teamed together to fulfill the specific needs of the client. These needs include transportation, communication, help with cleaning and organizing, company during medical procedures, and friendship.
Some services are matched on a temporary basis and may include lawn care, helping with packing and/or moving, small house repairs, and other household projects.
For many of the women on Saturday, having young visitors serenade them with the sounds of the season was a wonderfully moving experience.
“Some of the women had tears in their eyes,” said Tom. “I pray our time with them was as impactful on our students as it was on your residents.”