It was 2015 and, as usual, the giving tree was in the Arvada community center lobby during the holiday season. Each card on the tree had a request for someone in need. Bev went to pull a card off the tree, assuming that it was probably a gift request for a child. To her surprise, the card asked for basic supplies for a senior – tissues, trash bags and other things that are crucial, but which most of us take for granted. This really struck a chord.
When Bev had visited her own mother in assisted living, she was always saddened by the overwhelming loneliness of some of the other people there. Bev knew that older people are far too often forgotten.
She also knew how hard it can be to try and live on your own as you age. People sometimes assume that older people can live on their savings and Social Security. However, even for the hard working generation that included Bev’s mother and aunt, who grew up during the Depression, if you never had a big salary, your savings and other resources may not amount to enough nowadays.
Small things make a big difference
Bev and her husband Gary had found their ministry. They were inspired by their faith to find a good cause. They brought supplies for seniors directly to SRC that holiday and asked to do the same every month. Taking care of seniors would be their ongoing project.
Bev and Gary discovered SRC two years ago and have been bringing hope and dignity to seniors ever since. After first seeing that card on the giving tree, they met with our In Home Care (IHC) department. IHC keeps a supply of “basic needs” materials to give to clients, from cleaning supplies to bath tissue. Many of the seniors who receive in home care are also in need of supplies and have to make hard decisions about how to spend the few dollars they have. Food and medicine come first. However, it is hard to maintain your independence and dignity if you can’t afford something as seemingly simple as your own trash bags.
Each month Bev and Gary call the IHC department and ask what is needed. Then they show up at SRC with an SUV full of supplies. These items make such a difference. The supplies meet real physical needs and they also fill a need for human connection. Every time a staff member brings someone a box of supplies, it means that someone has been thinking about them.
Bev even started putting together bags of treats to include. She says that we all take so much for granted and that having a little something extra is something we should never fail to appreciate and share.
Bev hears so many stories about what these supplies mean. She heard one story about a man with a health problem that made his eyes constantly weepy. The tissues that came in his supply box made such a difference. It was something small and simple that meant a lot.
It really does not take a tremendous effort to make a difference. One box of tissues could mean that someone can take care of themselves and it can show someone that people care. No one can go it alone, but so many have no choice.
When asked what they would tell others about the program, Bev said that she and Gary would love to help others recognize how much our seniors are in need. “However the Lord has blessed you, bless others,” she says. People may not realize how many people are out there in need.
Hidden no longer
We are continuously grateful and in awe of people like Bev & Gary and all those who are inspired to make such a difference. Every donor at every level is making a difference and we could not do our work without that support.
Before we started delivering these basic needs packages, we met many older adults who only had enough money for one cleaning and hygiene supply. These folks often used only a bar of soap because it was inexpensive and had multiple uses. The bar of soap would be used not just for hygiene, but also as toothpaste and shampoo and to use on whatever needed cleaning.
There are so many seniors in our community in need and they sometimes seem hidden. However, their numbers are only growing and we need your support to make sure they do not stay hidden. Please consider donating before the end of the year so we can reach more people in 2018 with support, supplies and the knowledge that they are not forgotten. Sometimes it only takes a small effort to make a world of difference.