Part of LOFT’s mission is to offer our clients unwavering support and hope, no matter what challenges come our way. While we’re proud of that resilience, we have to admit that COVID-19 has tested us in ways that were unimaginable just 10 months ago.
Happily, though – and just in time for the holidays – this is a great news story, one that’s all about ensuring food security and human connection for our most vulnerable clients, just when they needed it most.
Crosslinks Seniors Housing & Support Services, in Northwest Toronto, is home to low-income clients with underlying health issues. It’s normally a bustling place, with staff on hand 24 hours a day to make sure clients get the help they need to live with dignity.
When COVID hit, life at Crosslinks had to be completely reimagined. The residence is in the heart of Toronto’s northwest, a neighbourhood long served by LOFT programming – and one disproportionately impacted by the virus. For the most part, staying safe for this group of at-risk seniors meant staying home. And since family members could no longer lend a hand in person, our amazing staff members stepped in to fill the void, repping meals, helping with personal care and more.
“I do grocery runs for clients every morning and go to restaurants to get local food so they can keep it in the fridge and re-heat it,” explains Lizzy Adewodu, Psychogeriatric Case Manager at Crosslinks. Lizzy’s main role is connecting clients to health and wellness resources. Our long-standing partnership with Second Harvest also helps ensure residents access the fresh food they need.
Even a spotless home and full fridge can’t reduce the loneliness brought on by the pandemic. “Sometimes I’m the only person clients see,” Lizzy explains. Like her colleagues, she is going above and beyond. “I give residents my work cell phone so they can call any time if they feel like talking. The most important thing is to put a smile on their faces.”
This area has been hit hard by COVID. While the increased workload is challenging for staff, they know that building strong bonds is what Crosslinks is all about. This holiday season, we’re celebrating the connections we’ve made in the face of COVID-19, whether they’re forged by a hot meal, a friendly face, or someone who’s always happy to lend an ear.