By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Northborough – June David-Fors, director of Family & Youth Services, and Liz Tretiak, newly named director of the Senior Center, presented updates to the Board of Selectmen at their April 27 meeting relevant to ongoing community outreach during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We quickly adapted when we heard that the buildings were going to be closed,” David-Fors remarked. “We are still providing all the services that we typically do – counselling, case management, fuel assistance applications, food stamp applications and a lot of referrals. Our community partnerships have never been more important.”
Examples include Helping Hands, specifically their emergency fund which is accessed the most by her department for people who might have fallen behind on their electricity bills.
“We probably did about eight of those last year and in the last two weeks we’ve done five already,” she noted. “They have maybe three more families that they can help before they run out of funds in this program.”
The Food Pantry is still open and has adopted a curbside pickup model.
She also shared that Sir Loin Catering in Northborough has been giving out free meals on Tuesdays and Thursdays. In one day they have given out over 1,000 meals and 400 to 500 of those were to Northborough residents.
David-Fors stressed that if anyone needs to call, even just to talk to another human being, they are available.
Another town resource referenced was the availability of Special Benevolent Funds which she oversees.
The Senior Center has been under the direction of Tretiak since early April. She immediately began by taking stock of available resources and available benefits.
“We are continually updating the resources and putting them up on our website and in our newsletter and we are getting the information on cable as best as we can,” she said.
They have moved several of their programs and support groups to virtual formats.
She also has identified at-risk seniors and has reached out to them individually and has set up plans for scheduled well-being checks.
Presently she is working her way through phoning the approximately 4,000 seniors in Northborough.
“I am pleased to report that so far we haven’t encountered any major crisis. Everyone seems to be doing relatively well,” Tretiak reported.
Like David-Fors, she is collaborating with all the community partners to make sure that the seniors are getting the assistance that they need which includes outreach to adult caregivers of people with dementia.
She encouraged any senior to contact them whether they are feeling isolated, lonely or looking for some sort of social connection.
“We are here and can talk to anybody!” she said. “We have the ability to tap into so many resources and benefits for our Northborough seniors.”
The board expressed appreciation to both David-Fors and Tretiak.
Selectman Dawn Rand said, “Liz, in three weeks it seems like you’ve done an awful lot of work so welcome to Northborough and we are very lucky to have you.”
Family & Youth Services can be reached at 508-393-5020 and the Senior Center at 508-393-5035. Donations may be sent to the following organizations:
- Town Benevolent Fund, checks can be made payable to The Town of Northborough Special Benevolent Funds and sent to town Hall, 63 Main St., Northborough, MA 01532;
- Helping Hands Association, P.O. Box 383, Northborough, MA 01532;
- Northborough Food Pantry, 37 Pierce St., Northborough, MA 01532;
- Sir Loin Catering, 369 West Main St., Northborough, MA 01532.