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ElderHelp of San Diego comforting seniors through pandemic and rioting

400 volunteers assist seniors in 40 San Diego County zip codes.

SAN DIEGO — Both a pandemic and recent rioting have lead to some unnerving times for San Diego's senior citizens. In this Zevely Zone, I went to Kearny Mesa to profile a program that proves our seniors are not alone.  

When the Vons in La Mesa got looted, a senior watching the chaos from home wondered where she'd get her food from. 

"That was her grocery store," said Lora Daines. 

She is a volunteer with the non-profit organization ElderHelp of San Diego. Lora is doing her best to deliver groceries and comfort to seniors. 

"She was really afraid that night she had a rough night you know she was awake all night," said Lora.

Credit: KFMB TV

Chris Mirsky, the program's transportation coordinator say hundreds of volunteers deliver food to seniors in 40 San Diego County zip codes.

"Amazing group of people who have stepped up in an absolutely incredible way," said Chris.  

Credit: KFMB TV

The non-profit is collecting food donations for seniors. 

"We have some tangerines, oranges, bananas, pears. Over here we have potatoes, yellow onions and some squash," said Claudia Gavin who is ElderHelp's Care Coordination Manager. 

Claudia says the food is boxed up and bagged and then delivered to 850 seniors who because of COVID and the past riots are feeling isolated. 

"They should be staying at home anyway but now more so than ever they are afraid to go out even during those senior-specific shopping hours," said Claudia.

Credit: ElderHelp of San Diego

Which brings us back to Lora Daines, who not only drives the food to the seniors, she'll stop on the way to their house to shop for them. 

"How much do you get paid for doing this?" I asked. 

Lora laughed and said, "Ha, ha, I don't get paid. This is all volunteer."  

This was her eighth delivery this week.

Credit: ElderHelp of San Diego

If anything, volunteers have taken a pay cut throughout COVID-19. They used to get paid with hugs but now are rewarded with a no-touch high five through windows.

George Washington Carver once reminded us to be among other things, "Compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these things." These are words to live by. 

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"So we really just are taking care of them the only way we can see fit right now," said Lora.  

Chris Mirsky added, "How could you not like doing that?"

ElderHelp has helped seniors for 46 years. If you'd like to make a donation to help keep the program go to https://www.elderhelpofsandiego.org/

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