Coping with COVID in St. James Town part 4
Three guests from St. James Town and the broader community talk about how they are collaborating to get delicious and nutritious meals to St. James Town seniors and others in need of this support. Seniors who normally meet up regularly are also keeping connected through a weekly group online and video and telephone chat.
In this episode we speak with Dr. Nalini Pandalangat, Program and Services Director for Immigrant, Refugee, and Newcomer Communities at Sherbourne Health; Dr. Priyal Goenke, a dentist who practices in India, and now a St. James Town resident and highly active volunteer; and Norma Khandaker, mental health worker at Progress Place, who is also Coordinator of the St. James Town Senior Mental Health Day Program and member of the operations team of Community Corner.
These three guests are part of an initiative to provide highly nutritious and appealing meals during the COVID-19 lockdown to seniors in St. James Town and to others for whom the pandemic has made it much more difficult to obtain and prepare meals. They share their perspectives on how it developed and the benefits it brings both to recipients and to volunteers.
Dr. Goenke’s story about what brought her to St. James Town, and to the women’s catering collective Flavours from our Neighbours, is told here.
Two of the main agencies that brought this initiative into being are Sherbourne Health and Progress Place. Progress Place is an organization that offers an innovative approach to recovery from mental illness, one in which the members create and feel part of community.
Another of the other organizations that makes this initiative possible is The Neighbourhood Organization (TNO). Listeners of our podcast, and viewers of this website, who would like to support the meals part of the Meals and Wellness Check Program can donate through TNO, making sure to earmark the donation to St. James Town Community Corner.
Two additional organizations that collaborate in this program by channelling volunteers to deliver meals, are Volunteer Toronto and Trinity Life Church is also involved. Through Trinity Life Church’s ministry called The New Common, volunteers help to deliver the meals to the recipients. One of those volunteers explains what motivates her.
And of course, a vital role is played by the members of the women’s catering collective Flavours from our Neighbours who volunteer to prepare meals for the members. We see them at work in these photos, courtesy of Aravind Joseph, of Community Corner.
An episode about delicious and gorgeous meals would clearly be incomplete without visuals. Here are some photos shared by one of this week’s guests, Priyal Goenke.
We also want to mention that Progress Place maintains a “warm line” during the pandemic, and has extended the hours from noon to midnight – 7 days a week. This is for anyone, not just seniors, who feels isolated, sad, distressed, or simply had a bad day and needs to talk with an understanding person.
If you are calling from 12PM to 8PM, call 416 323 3721
If you are calling from 8PM to to midnight, call 416 960 9276.
You can also access the warm line via the internet.
Lastly, check out the podcast produced by Progress Place members called Radio Totally Normal Toronto (RTNT).
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