October 19, 2021
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Wellness Baskets for Seniors

By: Cassandra May Albaugh
May 8, 2020

The Community Voice has been exploring a series of stories and events during this pandemic with a general theme of people helping people. This is another such article. It’s about the Rohnert Park Wellness Basket Collaborative Project.

In mid-April, a committee was formed to look at options for supporting seniors in our community. Principal participants came from the Rohnert Park Chamber of Commerce, the Rohnert Park Community Services Program, the Council on Aging and Clearwater at Sonoma Hills. They reached out to others to include a local business called Home Instead Senior Care and the Rotary Club of Rohnert Park-Cotati. This group became the planning team.

By April 23, they decided on wellness baskets as their initial project. During the next week, they reached out by email and telephone to solicit donations. 120 homemade masks were donated by Maria Lane and Vera Teixeira. The Chinese Christian Church donated over 100 rolls of toilet paper. Cash donations came from the Rotary Clubs of Rohnert Park-Cotati and Rancho Cotati, Discovery Church and Clearwater at Sonoma Hills. Those funds allowed the committee to purchase additional supplies to be put in the baskets. On April 30 at 2 p.m., a group of ten volunteers met at Clearwater at Sonoma Hills to begin assembling the 150 baskets for delivery to seniors May 1 through May 6. 

Working with Council on Aging, the ladies at Clearwater at Sonoma Hills identified seniors for basket deliveries. Baskets were to be delivered following social distancing protocols. They were placed at the door, then the volunteer stepped back six feet while ensuring a safe delivery. Baskets included masks; toiletries such as toilet paper, lotion and hand sanitizers; and materials for activities such as a deck of playing cards, coloring books and pencils and small puzzles. Baskets were being delivered throughout the county to include Windsor, Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Cotati and Petaluma.

Julie Ann Soukoulis, owner of Home Instead Senior Care, said “Everybody came together to make this happen.” Danilela Bonovitch, a consultant with Home Instead Senior Care, also said it was an “absolute privilege to be part of this effort to support our seniors.” She also talked about other similar efforts on a smaller scale that they were involved in. Fruit baskets with some masks and gloves were passed out to some of their customers. 

Then a small bag of PPE materials such as gloves, masks, sanitizers, and booties were given to clients. The intent was to help seniors when they had to go shopping. These also included fresh fruits and a letter to the them to help brighten their days. 

Soukoulis summed up the project when she said, “It really takes a village to support our senior community.” A sincere and grateful thank you was expressed for all the volunteers, donors and participants that helped make this project a success. It is just another example of people coming together to help us all get through this difficult period.