Updated: Apr 1, 2020
Earlier this week, Seattle Seniors Strong announced their partnership with two charities to help provide much needed funding during the COVID-19 pandemic, one of which is the Pike Market Senior Center and Food Bank.
The Pike Market Senior Center (PMSC) was founded in 1978 and is a recognized leader in offering programming for homeless adults in a senior center setting. Services at PMSC reflect the needs of the community they serve without drawing distinctions between housed and homeless members.
"The primary beneficiaries of our programs are the significant senior homeless population within the PMSC membership and the community very low-income residents who live close by,"says Mason Lowe, Deputy Director of the Pike Market Senior Center & Food Bank.
Much like other senior centers, PMSC offers fitness and art classes, games, and a welcoming environment to meet up with friends. While these services have been severely limited for the duration that the shelter in place and social distancing guidelines remain in effect, some seniors are still showing up and the meals program continues to serve.
"We are serving about 110 meals per day, down from about 200," says Lowe. "In a typical year, PMSC serves over 50,000 free, nutritious meals per year to a diverse population of 1,500 older adults. The Pike Market Food Bank serves over 6,000 individuals each year, providing free groceries, no-cook bags for homeless clients, and delivery service for homebound neighbors. The majority of food bank clients are seniors."
All services are offered at no cost and PMSC is open every day of the week. One of the biggest benefits to seniors is a staff that features 5 social workers. In the last 10 years, over 300 homeless seniors have found safe housing with the assistance of PMSC social workers and countless others have received vital help in applying for benefits from local, state, and federal programs.
When asked how seniors who would not be able to come to the center for the duration of this crisis, Lowe replied, "we are conducting outreach to around 1,000 or so members who are sheltering in place with weekly letters, regular telephone calls, and outreach social work case management over the phone, on-site, and in-home. This week, we are also launching phone check-ins for homeless members.
"All of this outreach work is to maintain a connection to a population that was at risk of social isolation BEFORE we were encouraged to self-isolate to control spread of COVID-19."
"We need a lot of help right now - not a position we're accustomed to," admits Lowe. "The fact that your organization reached out to us so early and with such generosity is heartening."
Please make a donation to the Pike Market Senior Center using the "Donate Now" button above. All donations made through May 31, 2020 will be matched dollar for dollar up to $50,000 thanks to generous contributions from Seattle Seniors Strong, funded by Áegis Living and the Clark Family Foundation.