Seniors Get Needed Services with Help from Board Rapid Response Fund

For decades, Kosciusko Community Senior Services (KCSS) has helped to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the senior citizens of Kosciusko County, and this year has been no different. In fact, this year their mission has been even more significant, as the elderly are one particular population especially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. They are more susceptible to serious complications from contracting the virus, and have dealt with the strain of mental health issues, isolation from loved ones, and limited access to resources. KCSS has worked tirelessly to not only ensure that they are able to continue offering as many of their services to seniors as they can, but that the services are offered in the safest way possible.

There are three primary services offered by KCSS: Meals on Wheels, the Senior Activities Center, and Transportation Services. Each of these services has been altered, in close partnership with the local health department, to ensure safety and continue to meet as many of the seniors’ needs as possible. With Meals on Wheels, volunteers have been dropping off insulated bags with dinner on seniors’ porches, and standing back for a socially distanced time of socializing. This allows them to continue to connect with the seniors, some of whom see no one else the rest of their day, while keeping them safe. The Activities Center has been closed during the pandemic, but to keep up with the regulars, the Activities Director has spent her days making phone calls, continuing relationships while meeting in person is on hold. The Transportation Services are vital in allowing seniors to get to medical appointments. With a bit of alteration, the help of KABS (Cardinal Services), and a COVID-19 Recovery Grant from the Kosciusko County Community Foundation, KCSS was not only able to purchase thermometers to ensure that no one has a temperature before riding, but also had clear plastic partitions installed in the vans, to allow the seniors to interact with the drivers while preventing the spread of germs.

“A lot has gone back to normal, but for our seniors it hasn’t,” said Executive Director David Neff who has led KCSS through the many challenges brought about by the pandemic. David plays a pivotal role in the organization, but directs the attention towards the effort of his staff, and the many selfless volunteers who have continued to step up through difficult circumstances. One thing he is particularly proud of is the fact that during the entire pandemic, they have not missed a single meal for any of the seniors who utilize the Meals on Wheels service. Between his staff, volunteers, and the many other area nonprofits who KCSS has collaborated with over the course of this year, David expressed his immense gratitude for the way everyone has come together to care for the most vulnerable in our community. He pointed out how important it is to work on the behalf of the elderly, saying “these are the people who built our community, and now we have the opportunity to give back to them, and we should.”

Kosciusko Community Senior Services is one of the many organizations Kosciusko County Community Foundation has supported this year through the Board Rapid Response Fund, to help meet the needs brought about by the pandemic. We are so thankful for our friends, like you, who have helped us meet the unique challenges our community has faced. Over the course of 2020, the Community Foundation has granted over $123,000 for the immediate assistance of our nonprofits working to ease the hardships felt by our community in the midst of the pandemic. Please consider donating to our Board Rapid Response Fund, to partner with us as we go into the new year and continue to meet the needs of our neighbors.