(PHC) People For a Healthy Community on Gabriola Society: COVID-19 Community Response
COVID-19 has had a significant impact on our community and will continue to affect our most vulnerable.
PHC has adapted our program delivery and will continue to evolve our programs as the pandemic continues. Important information about changes to our programs and services are being provided by social media, newsletter or email.
- Continue to introduce new improvements to our food security programs, including grocery and meal deliveries along with our recently funded process improvements in the food recovery program.
- Develop mental health and wellness program response for children, youth, families, and seniors.
- Evaluate and expand if appropriate, use of technology to create and expand social connections for isolated seniors, with opportunities for learning and information exchange.
Our food programs have seen an increased demand with almost 3 times the previous number of participants. This includes over 45 children.
In order to reduce exposure to participants, volunteers and staff, we are now delivering standard grocery boxes to homes.
We are also implementing a grocery gift card program so those with families can receive additional funds to meet their specific needs.
We also continue to grow fresh produce for our participants in our garden plots.
Food literacy programs - These cooking activities will now be on zoom and filmed and then made available to families and children online via social media and our website. This is a new initiative for PHC and we will be using it to learn about the approach and its usefulness in the future.
Summer Gardening Program - Children and Seniors’ Engagement - We are establishing a kids growing program via our school partners. Teachers will be providing educational materials and we will supply grow-a-plant kits. Children will be encouraged to share photos, record measurements and post to seniors. Seniors will provide feedback, stories and memories of living on the farm, recipes and encouragement.
All of the face to face programming has been cancelled since early March. The Seniors program has three main audiences:
- active younger seniors (60-75)
- older seniors who have some health issues and are slowing down (70-80)
- much older seniors who are socially isolated and have some memory loss (80-101)
Prior to the pandemic, our programs included:
- peer exercise
- seniors monthly luncheon
- New Age of Aging - a monthly lecture series on aging
- seniors activity day program
- caregiver supports including respite care, home hospice, and a seniors social prescribing pilot program.
All face to face activities were cancelled in mid March. Since that time we have started a twice weekly meal delivery program to seniors that includes a printed newsletter with personal messages by participants. We have also extended our respite care hours to assist those caregivers whose loved ones have significant needs.
COMMUNITY WELLNESS AND MENTAL HEALTH PROGRAMS
Neighbours Helping Neighbours
This program helps connect volunteers in our community to people who are self-isolating. Volunteers may assist with delivery of food and medication or may act as a “buddy” to check in on the wellbeing of their neighbours. Over 140 residents are signed up.
Mental Health Support
We have seen an increase in general anxiety and have begun to examine ways to support this situation. Counselling supports are currently being provided over the phone by our local Social Worker and Community Mental Health and Addictions Nurse.
Our community is actively participating in the “Show Your Heart” campaign and we hope to
establish a community wide mental health newsletter.
We have hosted Live Life to the Full from CMHA and Living with Chronic Conditions with the Centre for Aging at UVic previously. Both of these programs are migrating online.
Gabriola COVID-19 Response and Recovery Committee
PHC is an active member of our Gabriola’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Committee.
This committee addresses our communities most vulnerable needs such as water and homelessness.