GLSS CELEBRATES VOLUNTEERS DURING NATIONAL VOLUNTEER MONTH
Lynn, Massachusetts, April 20, 2021 – Like many nonprofits, Greater Lynn Senior Services (GLSS) relies on volunteers to assist in fulfilling its broad mission of helping people age 60 and older and adults living with disabilities remain independent—something that has become even more important during the ongoing pandemic. “The reality is that we would be unable to fulfill some aspects of our mandate without the support of volunteers who are critical to several very important programs we offer,” said Kathryn C. Burns, GLSS’ Chief Executive Officer. “Today, during National Volunteer Month, we celebrate their service to our agency and hope that their work will inspire others to get involved.”
For example, the Massachusetts Money Management Program is a volunteer effort overseen by GLSS’ Elder Protective Services department. The program matches volunteers with seniors who need help setting and managing their monthly budget and paying bills on time. “Often, the ability to manage finances is one key reason people can no longer live independently,” says Dottie Davies, LICSW, Director of Clinical and Protective Services at GLSS. She notes that this can be caused by a number of factors, including cognitive decline, loss of a spouse, or poor eyesight. The program is specifically for people who do not have the benefit of family support to assist with these kinds of tasks. “We have a very diligent and dedicated team of individuals who take this responsibility very seriously,” Davies states. “But, that said, we are always in need of new volunteers.
Also critical to GLSS’ mission is the state-mandated Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, which is overseen by the State Ombudsman Office and managed locally at GLSS by Jillian O’Brien. “Our caring volunteers are assigned to one of the 12 nursing or rest homes covered by GLSS’ program,” O’Brien said, noting that in addition to facilities in GLSS’ service area of Lynn, Lynnfield, Nahant, Saugus, and Swampscott, the agency also oversees four facilities in Cambridge and Somerville. “On a regular basis, our Ombudsmen visit nursing and rest home residents to ensure that their rights are being respected and to help resolve complaints should they arise.” During the pandemic, when visiting these facilities was not possible, O’Brien’s team of volunteers used phone calls and video conferencing to communicate with residents. O’Brien stated, “The program wouldn’t be possible without the volunteers,” she noted. “We have a devoted team of volunteers who are a vital help in carrying out the mission of advocating for nursing and rest home residents.”
One of GLSS’ most important federal mandates is the provision of nutrition services to people age 60 and older. The agency offers congregate and home-delivered meals, as well as other supports, including a monthly Brown Bag Project in conjunction with the Greater Boston Food Bank. This program, overseen by GLSS’ Nutrition Department, provides bags of healthy groceries to low-income seniors. It, too, relies on volunteers to help unload, pack, and distribute hundreds of bags of groceries each month. “The program is held on the third Friday of the month for about three hours beginning around 9:00 a.m.,” said Nick Anander, Nutrition Program Manager at GLSS. “The demand for food supports this past year, especially among the senior population, has increased significantly, and this program fills a real community need.” Anander notes that this is a perfect opportunity for students or local businesses interested in community service to help out on occasion or each month, as time allows.
“Our volunteers are caring, compassionate people, who make a difference every day in the lives of the people we serve, and we can never thank them enough for their support,” Burns said. People interested in joining GLSS’ team of volunteers should call 781-599-0110.