A special message from Rose Richardson, Director at the West Philadelphia Senior Community Center.
Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have. ~Margaret Mead~
West Philadelphia is an area where over one in three people live below the poverty level, 47% of households have incomes below $25,000 a year, and the risk for theft and violent crime is well above the national average.
Under these circumstances, life can be difficult for any age—particularly so for older adults who don’t have the physical strength or the economic means to surmount their challenges…older adults like Sally Jones*, a frail West Philadelphia senior citizen who is confined to her home.
Sally has suffered double heartbreak over the course of several years. She recently lost both of her beloved children; first her son, then her daughter. First, unimaginable grief and depression set in, followed by a harrowing period of economic uncertainty and food insecurity.
Several miles away, Audrey Smith*, who, like Sally, is an older adult confined to her home, was suffering in silence from pest infestations and unwieldy clutter. Audrey’s beloved home—sandwiched between two abandoned and dilapidated houses—was being overrun by mice, roaches and bedbugs that were ravaging the empty buildings surrounding her.
These situations—and many others like them—can lead to hopelessness and despair, but you have the ability to change all of that. When you give to LCFS, you support an incredible program and group of individuals who restore promise and joy to vulnerable older adults.
These individuals are the case managers of LCFS’ In Home Support Program (IHSP), who every day travel the neighborhoods of West Philadelphia to bring hope, fellowship, and safety to homebound seniors—many of whom might face dire conditions without their care and support.
“A lot of the seniors we serve are blind. Quite a few have been exploited in some way and many are truly lonely because they are separated from family or have no family,” says IHSP case manager Andragina Johnson.
Andragina won’t ever forget the difference she was able to make for Audrey. “I didn’t even pull off her block before I was on the phone with our extermination service. In the end, we were able to get her place exterminated and some of the clutter under control. Now her whole spirit is totally different—she is just so happy.”
Wanda Green, also an ISHP case manager, has helped to bring brightness back into Audrey’s life.
“Sally didn’t have any heat in her house so I was able to refer her to a resource that would come and give her a heater. Also, she was so afraid to be without medical insurance, which cost more than $500. We were able to pay that for her. Then, at one point she said she hadn’t eaten for a couple of days. I can’t imagine how it feels to be hungry—I was beside myself. My IHSP coworkers saw how filled up I was and started gathering all types of resources that enabled me to bring her bags of groceries and other nutritional items. As we sat and talked she began to cry because she was so deeply moved by our outreach and concern.”
Every day, Wanda and Andragina feel the gravity and urgency of what they do. Your gift will help us bring comfort and joy to despairing seniors.
“Each morning I leave for work I feel like somebody is going to get blessed that may have been feeling hopeless. While my initial goal for a visit may be to set someone up for home-delivered meals or transportation, I may notice they don’t have gas or running water, or have a leak from a ceiling that’s going to fall down. When I point out these deficiencies they usually respond by saying ‘there’s nothing I can do—I can barely afford my medication.’ When they learn I have the resources to help their situation they get so excited. I get so filled up when somebody gets a blessing like this. It’s like Christmas for them!” says Wanda.
Your interest and support enables Wanda, Andragina, and the rest of our incredible IHSP team to deliver blessings day after day…to bring loving care and much needed assistance to vulnerable seniors who feel weak, alone, or hopeless.
* Names have been changed to preserve confidentiality.