The Parish Outreach to Senior’s project has been a really impactful initiative in Simcoe County and Peel Dufferin. This project has helped to build community and relationships for seniors by providing them with social companionship. Catholic Family Services in Simcoe County and Peel Dufferin have partnered with 6 Parishes to provide this service through the generous support of Catholic Charities, ShareLife and the Archdiocese of Toronto.
At the core of the initiative, our mission was to alleviate loneliness and isolation. As of November 2017, the project had provided 725 hours of visits to seniors and generated 102 volunteers. The project has begun to develop meaningful relationships and has had a huge impact on all of those involved.
Bonus: Nutrition Education
All partners involved have strived to provide the most holistic approach to meeting the needs of the elderly people in our community. Through the vision of Parish Outreach to Seniors, we were able to identify additional gaps in services in the community. One of the strongest needs in Simcoe County facing seniors was access and education around good, healthy, nutritious food.
In identifying this need we were able to build a new program under the umbrella of Parish Outreach called the POTS Slow Cooker Club. Through a partnership with the Simcoe County District Health Unit, they helped to adapt this program originally developed by the Brant County Health Unit.
The POTS Slow Cooker Club is a 6-week educational program. It provides seniors with information on topics such as cooking for one, cooking on a budget, food safety practices, and understanding the Canada Food Guide. In addition to the education, on week one, seniors were gifted a Croc Pot. Each week seniors learn to prepare new recipes and can then take it home to be cooked in their Croc Pot. This program is totally FREE. Through the sponsorship of Adams Funeral Home and Amica at Barrie, we were able to provide all of the food and tools needed to each of the 12 participants.
POTS Slow Cooker Club has been really well received by all of the participants and volunteers. Each person has really benefited from the learning and the access to healthy foods. In addition, we are still meeting the core values of our initiative and building relationships and community in a cool, new way!
We are coming to an end of our first run at St. John Vianney Parish in Barrie. We have already generated a waitlist and many seniors are asking when the next program will run! We hope to have another round of POTS Slow Cooker Club in Barrie in the fall of 2018.
In the meantime, POTS Slow Cooker Club is set to run in Orillia through Guardian Angels Parish in the spring. We are looking forward to bringing this program to the seniors and community of Orillia.
Please also check out the CTV News Barrie feature on the POTS Slow Cooker Club: https://barrie.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1358559