More isolated than ever, Seniors are lonely and still in need of medical and essential transportation and companionship during this time of social distancing and quarantine. This is THE wheelhouse of Shepherd’s Center of Charlotte where people like Mamie Johnson and Beverly Cranford met due to transportation limitations long before COVID-19. Their friendship continues, even through these quarantine months. Mrs. Johnson explains that “It’s so nice knowing that I can call on Bev for a listening ear when I need one. And I enjoy listening to stories about her grandchildren too!” Mrs. Johnson, a born Charlottean and grandmother raising her 14-year-old grandson, met long-time volunteer Mrs. Cranford through the Shepherd’s Center transportation services 18-months ago. As Mrs. Cranford explained, “When Ms. Mamie and I would ride together, I learned quite a bit about cooking because she used to work in a bakery. I had my first grandchild at age 70, and Mamie’s given me information like how to get a baby to quit crying, just information I’d never heard because our backgrounds are different, yet I consider her my family. My nearest relative is in Raleigh.”
Mrs. Cranford has volunteered offering rides to Seniors through Shepherd’s Center of Charlotte for over 20 years. She also has taken a 35 mm camera Photography class and Apple iPhone class throughout the years.
Since 1979, Shepherd’s Center of Charlotte has assisted residents to age in place and to connect them to educational and other services to enrich the lives of older adults.
This past Spring, their focus narrowed to lessen or decrease effects of social isolation for their clients. The Center’s small staff knows it’s a pivotal time for creating an online learning platform as many Seniors have communicated that they are missing the Adventures in Learning Program - a vital resource to their Senior community as they provide classes on everything from Feng Shui to Charlotte Mecklenburg History and even health-related classes like Inflammation, Fatigue and Brain Fog. These educational offerings help Seniors connect with one another and promote lifelong learning. SHIIP (Senior Health Insurance Information Program) volunteers also educate Shepherd’s Center of Charlotte clients about Medicare, Medicare Supplements, Prescription Drug Plans and Medicare Advantage. Since Seniors are a vulnerable population who are eager to resume face-to-face interactions, Shepherd’s Center plans to offer their online coffee socials and book clubs this Fall and looks forward to the day when they can resume their group trips to the aquarium or ballets, etc.
How You Can Help?
Shepherd’s Center of Charlotte is wisely connecting volunteers to help meet the ongoing companionship, essential and medical transportation needs through their various services and programming. Their companionship calls are crucial for keeping Senior clients connected during this lonely time, so if you are interested in participating in a companionship call or volunteering to assist with Zoom class offerings, or even offer transportation, please contact Shepherd’s Center of Charlotte for more information.
The Shepherd's Center of Charlotte is in the running to win $5K this month thanks to the Amy and Brian France Foundation who have partnered with SHARE Charlotte for this year’s Spotlight Series and YOU can help when you VOTE NOW! Financial assistance to defray gas costs for some of the volunteer drivers. For instance, 32 volunteers made over 1000 trips to medical appointments in 2019. Shepherd’s Center of Charlotte is crucial, more than ever before, in helping support older adults. If they receive $5K, it will be used to pivot their programming and support their volunteers as they continue to drive to medical appointments and learn to offer innovative educational offerings.
You can also check out the other organizations eligible to win this month’s prize, here!