By Peg Lopata, Contributing Writer
SHREWSBURY – Christine Moriarty, 27, became office assistant and volunteer coordinator for the Shrewsbury Council on Aging in April of this year. Moriarty, a self-declared homebody with a bachelor’s degree in communications from Worcester State University, is enjoying her new job. “Many of the people who visit the senior center have been coming for years…it’s a very close-knit community, she said. “Everyone’s been so nice and welcoming.”
Starting a new job remotely
Due to the pandemic, Moriarty worked remotely the first couple of months with her chocolate lab, Samson, and her cat, Eli keeping her company at home. All of her training was done online or by phone. Despite that challenge, she said, “The staff at the Town Hall and the Senior Center volunteers I spoke with were so patient and accommodating as I got up to speed. I cannot thank everyone enough for their help.”
Though starting a new job at a center that serves the public but is not yet open to the public might seem like a disadvantage, Moriarty said she actually feels fortunate to have started in the midst of a pandemic, despite the challenges. “It’s given me the opportunity to spend more time asking a lot of questions and be able to completely understand the processes at the center. But, of course, I can’t wait to see when things are in full swing.”
Creative approaches to support seniors
The senior center is having to do things very differently, but Moriarty is not daunted. “We have had to be creative with our approach. Though still closed, we are busy trying to provide as many services as we can. We’re working on several projects trying to ensure that local seniors have the supplies and resources they’ll need for the upcoming winter,” she explained. “We’ve just started ‘Help Feed a Senior’ to provide daily meals for Shrewsbury seniors and we’re partnering with a volunteer group to collect and distribute supplies for ‘Gifts for Seniors.’ It’s been really rewarding when we are able to help in any way,” she said.
What’s on the horizon
Moriarty has some long-term goals for the center, including revamping the volunteer program. “Many of the current opportunities for volunteers are not available due to the pandemic,” she explained, “and things will certainly be different when we’re on the other side. I want to be sure we are meeting the needs of our local seniors and are offering as many opportunities as possible to engage the community.”
Besides her work for the senior center, Moriarty likes to crochet and is an avid reader – especially murder mysteries that she’s enjoying via her recent birthday gift of a Kindle. She also loves to binge shows on Netflix.
Learn more about the Shrewbury’s Council on Aging at: https://shrewsburyma.gov/555/Council-on-Aging