Friends of the BSR Walk-A-Thon,

I hope this letter finds you and yours healthy and taking care. This is not what I had hoped to be sending out to you today. COVID-19 has drastically changed how we ALL operate, and it was time to reach out and share some updates.

We are cancelling our Walk-A-Thon fundraising event for the first time in its 40-year history, and we’d like to gratefully acknowledge all those who have contributed to its success in the past. Workers, walkers, supporters and sponsors – THANK YOU for 40 years of success!

To say the cancellation is a disappointment would be an understatement, but it is the prudent thing to do. The funds traditionally raised by the event, however, are needed as much as ever, so a Virtual Walk-A-Thon is planned instead. We hope this virtual event will receive the same level of support enjoyed by previous Walk-A-Thons. Walkers can still solicit pledges from family & friends for their virtual walk, and individuals & businesses can still make their contributions. A Walker Pledge Form and a self-addressed return envelope are enclosed.

“Benzie Senior Resources has been very blessed with the way our community has supported the organization over the years. It’s kept so many people in their own homes… checking on them and helping them with what they need. Thank you to Benzie Senior Resources for helping so many people. It’s fantastic!”
Charlotte Putney – 35-year Walk-A-Thon Participant

The impacts of COVID-19 have been profound for Benzie Senior Resources, yet the essential work of the agency has continued. We have followed, to the letter, the required guidelines put in place by Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department, Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS), Governor Whitmer’s Executive Orders and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We serve the highest at-risk group and we cannot stop sending meals, giving baths, or managing medication. We could have gone to one meal delivery a week and sent just frozen meals, but that does not fit our mission. We are depended upon to check on your neighbors, your family, your dearest friends. Maybe even you.

Home Delivered Meals. We are still delivering HOT meals every weekday. These deliveries include milk and frozen meals to reheat for another meal and 5-day, shelf-stable food bags. Our dedicated staff and volunteers have their temperatures checked daily. They wear masks and gloves and maintain a 6-foot distance from each other and from clients. Upon returning from meal delivery, each vehicle is disinfected thoroughly. And throughout this pandemic, our numbers have continued to grow. We are delivering up to 300 meals EVERY, SINGLE Day. Many of our folks who would typically be getting their own groceries are afraid to venture out because they are in the high-risk group. Some of our volunteers who were once delivering meals are now receiving them.

Home Healthcare/ Medication Management. On every visit, we ask a specific series of questions and take client temperatures. We are required, by the public health department, to show proof that this is being done. Masks and gloves are worn by our staff while in client homes providing care, and as added protection, our agency has supplied masks to our meal delivery and home health care clients.

Other services continue as well. Among them, the Gathering Place makes hot meals available for curbside pickup, homebound seniors receive phone reassurance calls, and our RNs still meet with clients in their homes. Many changes have been made but our services continue.

We are humbled and beyond grateful for the support of our community over the past few months. Volunteers have stepped up and individuals and organizations alike have sent donations. Because you care, services in support of our most vulnerable population have continued with care, compassion and absolute caution.

Thank you for your continued support of Benzie Senior Resources and, as we work through this challenge, please remain healthy and safe.

Douglas Durand
Executive Director