Progress Place has been serving the St. James Town Neighbourhood for more than 7 years now. Progress Place works with St. James Town seniors in various capacities. Since the declaration of the emergency Progress Place has been in the fore front working with our Seniors. We spoke to Criss Habal-Brosek, Executive Director to know more about how Progress Place is responding to the pandemic.
What made Progress Place interested in being part of and assisting with the Meal Program?
Progress Place always offers 3 meals a day Monday to Friday to our members, (clients) and 2 meals a day on weekends and holidays. When COVID-19 happened, and Ontario was declared to be in a state of emergency, we knew we would have to rally and figure out the best way to not only support our members in getting a meal a day for 6 days a week but to also support our community partners who work with vulnerable elders with disabilities and multiple health issues. The Community Corner is one of our key partners and we offered meal delivery to some of their clients as well.
As the meal program is an important service that operates on the frontline during this pandemic, the work you, your members and volunteers do is very valuable. It also carries with it some risk. Can you tell me about some of the safety measures that you take to minimize these risks?
Yes, you are right there is some risk involved in delivering meals; therefore we ask those that can come and pick up their meals for takeout to do so while practicing physical distancing. For those that cannot pick up their meals, we have worked with various property owners, community partners, volunteers and neighbours to help deliver in their local building and or community. We make sure people leave food for their neighbours on their door handles to ensure physical distancing is respected.
Why do you feel that this meal program is necessary for the St. James Town Community?
We have been working in the St. James Town Community for about 10 years, we see there is a need in the community for this program and we are so thrilled to be able to support some of its oldest members with little support, health and nutrition during these unprecedented times.
As people are more likely to feel isolated and anxious during these unprecedented times, the Warm Line operated by Progress Place is an invaluable service. Can you tell me about this service, the value it presents and how it is operating during this pandemic?
Thank you for your interest in the Warm Line, we just celebrated the Warm Lines 25th anniversary last year. The Warm Line is a peer support line staffed by people living with mental health and or addiction issues who have been stable for some time and would like to give back by supporting their peers, empowering them to solve their concerns and issues.
Are you receiving more calls than usual during this time? How have callers been responding to the service?
We anticipated that people would find the physical distancing required during COVID-19 a challenge and wanted to support the community at large the best possible way. We extended our Warm Line hours from 4 hours per day to 12 hours per day, from noon to 8pm the Warm Line can be called at 416 323-3721 and from 8pm to midnight we are available as usual at 416 960-9276 or at www.warmline.ca to chat or text at 647 557-5882.
Strong and positive social connections are vital for fostering mental well-being, how can people stay connected with one another despite physical distancing?
You are correct, strong positive social connections are so vital for positive mental well-being. Even though we are to keep our physical distance during COVID-19 we can continue to be social by connecting by checking in on our friends, family, neighbours by phone or email and if you find yourself not being able to do that, feel free to reach out to the Warm Line. It is so important to feel connected even if that means calling someone and having a friendly ear to listen to whatever is on your mind.
Wishing everyone the very best in health during these trying times, reach out and stay connected to others.