July 2020

Combating seniors' social isolation in COVID-19


Published with The Red & Black: original story here 

Written and photographed by Taylor Gerlach


Throughout COVID-19, the Athens Community Council on Aging has been working to keep seniors socially connected and well-resourced.


Every Monday through Thursday, the organization coordinates Meals on Wheels routes. Volunteers hand-deliver packaged meals to seniors in the community who may have difficulty getting to a grocery store. In addition to providing nutrition, volunteers foster relationships with aging community members, as they interact with the same clients each week. Carey McLaughlin started volunteering with ACCA’s Meals on Wheels in March when layoffs due to COVID-19 freed up his schedule to have time to consistently serve with the organization. In the past several months, McLaughlin has built relationships with the four clients on his route. Follow along as The Red & Black's photo editor Taylor Gerlach rides along his weekly route.

In addition to Meals on Wheels, ACCA offers a free drive-through grocery pick-up three times each week to further support Athens’ food-insecure families. ACCA has also put their vans to use driving across Athens and Winterville to visit with clients and volunteers to help combat the social isolation felt by many who cannot physically come to the ACCA center for social and wellness activities as they did before COVID-19.