One of Proyecto La Nueva Esperanza main objectives is to provide nutritional meals to our elderly participants as their income is low. This means that usually they don’t have enough money to buy the food that will provide them a balanced diet. The meals distributed by our organization to the elderly homes are prepared locally in our kitchen. The delivery is made by volunteers every weekend. The menus are different each week and we receive feedback from the elders.
As a non-profit organization volunteers are very important to us. Being a volunteer provides a way to get related to our community problems. To be able to help them in any way is a benefit for the one who receives the service and a wonderful satisfaction to the one who provides it.
During this period, Idalia Acevedo, Executive Director, went to the University of Puerto Rico, Aguadilla site, to make a presentation of our services to the students. The purpose was to motivate them to participate in our volunteer program. The students were from the Social Department and this was an opportunity for them to get related to our elderly community situation. They organized an activity to provide some food and basic need articles.
About 20 students and a professor participated in the actitivy. They integrated the university mascot, (a student dressed as a shark) and the elders enjoyed it a lot, they were all smiles. The activity was a great experience for all.
We appreciate all our donors which make possible that our services can impact our elderly community.
Proyecto La Nueva Esperanza continue providing a meal to the elders during the weekends. Volunteers distribute lunch to all of our participants in their homes so they can improve their nutritional needs. During the last three (3) months a total of 1,154 dishes were delivered.
Additional services were provided. The Elder's Coordinator visited our participants to follow up in their needs and for assistance. Some of the elders need transportation for medical appointments because they don't have someone who can take them to a doctor or because a lack of transportation. Others must visit a government agency but don't understand the procedures and we take them to the agencies and help them in the process. Proyecto La Nueva Esperanza provide such services in our official vehicles. The agencies visited and the number of participants were: mental health services (4), medical appointments and medicines (3), food coupons office (4), to renew health cards (3).
We also provided glucose strips and lancets to five (5) elders with diabetes. Proyecto La Nueva Esperanza identified five (5) elders that need some clothing and we were able to provide it. The Coordinator also visited one participant who was hospitalized.
We were able to take our two official vehicles to maintenance. A mechanical problem was identified in the gray one. Maintenance is very important to deliver the meals and provide assistance to the participants. The vehicles must be a safety one for the participants, employees and volunteers.
All these achievements were able thanks to our donors.
Our participant's nutritional needs are different because of their health and economic situation. All of their income are from food coupons. We have a couple who are both participants of Proyecto La Nueva Esperanza. The husband had a critical health problem and was hospitalized twice for more than a week and in the same month. He had a stomach condition among other ones. His wife, 81 year old, with other health conditions was at home very worried. Because of this situation our organization provided her (Participant #1) with emergency groceries necessary for her husband condition. She got milk, ingredients to prepare soups, juices, desserts and breakfast ingredients. We also provided medicines that were not covered by her husband medical plan. The Case Coordinator took him to the medical follow up appointments and the nurse visited him during his recovery.
The couple was very grateful for the assistance that Proyecto La Nueva Esperanza provided during this critical time in their lives.
We are distributing about 390 to 400 meals during Saturdays and Sundays at the participant's homes. A youngster and his mother, both volunteers, were with this task last month. Participant #2 who is handicapped, received a stew (rice and meat).
Constant visits to a group of participants that because of their age and health required additional follow up. They had the following conditions: diabetes, dialysis patients, heart conditions and high blood pressure. Visits had been made to different offices to coordinate services as part of the elderly services follow up. The official vehicles were used to provide all services.
One of our male paticipants is 82 years old, very poor and do not have relatives. When he was collecting empty cans near the street a car hit him and had a fracture in his left knee. Proyecto La Nueva Esperanza helped him with the ACAA (gubernmental office who is in charge of managing car accident insurance cases). We were able to get him medical appointments and transportation in our official vehicle to Mayaguez which is 21 miles away from our town. He needed a knee surgery and we provided the transportation to the surgery and the post-surgery appointments. The whole process went from January to February 2015. The participant is at home, doing well and we continue providing follow up during his recovery.
We continue with the meal distribution during the Saturday's and Sunday's actually to 45 participants. The nurse visits them regularly to verify their health status.
The volunteers are an important part of the Elderly Program. One of our volunteers is an employee to a private company located in our town but comes from the Czech Republic. He's been doing meal distribution during Sunday's since about 2 years ago and he's very enthusiastic. We are sharing his experience below:
"It's something I will never forget and I will have always remember my "clients". These people became kind of my elder friends, there are one weekend in good mood (despite all the circumstances), another one with health troubles looking for any possible help. I really appreciate the support your organization provides to them because in case of any troubles they have nobody to ask for help. I enjoy distribution of lunch indeed, it's my Sunday routine."
Our goal is to maintain the elderly health and one way is to provide them a balanced meal. We continued with our regular meal distribution in the homes of our participants. A Case Manager visits the participants on a regular basis to verify their needs. She identified eight (8) participants that are in a very critical situation. For those we prepared some groceries so they could cook some meals on their own which was in addition to the weekend meals. The goods were: oatflour, pancakes flour, evaporated milk, rice, beans, sausages, sardines can, vegetables, chicken noodle soup, macaroni and cheese, mashpotato mix, applesauce, fruit cocktail dessert. These goods are easy to prepare as some elders do not have the skills to cook complicated meals. They can prepare these groceries during weekdays as they need, so they can be nourished in the days that we do not distribute the meals. The participants were happy and said: "We are grateful because we were short on groceries as our low income and food stamps are not enough for the month."
We also have one handicapped participant that has only one leg. She had a old portable toilet that was on a very bad condition. She cannot use the bathroom during the night. Proyecto La Nueva Esperanza was able to provide a new portable toilet. She said: "Thank you a lot, I really need it and couldn't affort to buy a new one." Her husband is also an elderly participant.
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