(UPDATE 5/1/2020: Due to this article published by Abington News, Jim Pappone of Abington Elderly Services reported they received a sizeable donation from Abington Insulation Foundation which helped them secure 120+ meals from Abington Ale House on Friday for seniors living at Blanchard Gardens and Leavitt Terrace. “The meals were put together nicely by the Ale House,” said Pappone. “Great job!” To learn more about Abington Elderly Services, visit: abingtonma.gov/councilonaging.)
The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on seniors, who have been disproportionatly impacted by the virus, and as a result, been more likely to stay inside in recent weeks.
With the Abington Senior Center still open for business, however closed for activities, many of those living at Blanchard Gardens and Leavitt Terrace — the town’s senior housing complexes — unable to go shopping, Abington Elder Services have been teaming up with local businesses to help ensure that population has what it needs.
“You think about those [seniors who] can’t even go to the common kitchen areas anymore, or have to wait in their car for the laundry,” said Abington Elderly Services member Mary Graham.
When the pandemic began, Graham and fellow member Ann Reilly began reaching out to local food establishments and businesses for help for seniors in need. Wendy’s in Abington was the first to answer the call for assistance.
“Wendy’s gave us a great deal and we were able to give the seniors hamburgers, chicken, french fries, apple slices and cups of ice cream,” said Reilly.
Elderly Services took a two-week break from deliveries as the surge of COVID-19 cases grew, but continued seeking help. That’s when volunteer and Trucchi’s employee, Jim Pappone, suggested approaching the supermarket for assistance.
“I just happened to mention that Trucchi’s would be good because many seniors shop there,” said Pappone. “It’s smaller and easier for them to walk that store. As a result, the seniors are the ones that keep this store going.”
Reilly loved the idea and sent a letter to Trucchi’s headquarters. Ann Trucchi Condon, the supermarket chain’s Chief Financial Officer, immediately responded.
“The seniors are our most vulnerable customers. It is the responsibility of all members of our communities to look out for one another and we’re happy to help Abington Elderly Services efforts,” said Trucchi.
“Trucchi’s couldn’t have been nicer,” added Reilly. “Both Ann and [Abington store manager] Nick Brown were great and said they would donate everything.”
So this past week, members of Elderly Services, along with Graham’s three children, put together bags full of Trucchi’s food items to deliver to 125+ seniors living at Blanchard and Leavitt.
“They each got an assortment of bottle water, breads, cantaloupe, bananas and yogurt,” said Reilly. “They seem to be really pleased.”
As an added bonus, Fred Villa, of Martin’s Bakery, donated 40 egg sandwiches for those at Leavitt Terrace.
“Fred was wonderful,” said Graham. “I told him we would pay him and he simply told me to remember him when his restaurant reopens when this (the pandemic) is over.”
“I feel bad for these businesses and restaurants, especially a mom-and-pop type operation, I hope they’re able to come back from this,” said Pappone.
“It was all just so well appreciated and people were so giving,” said Reilly. “It was like old Abington, people doing something for everyone.
To learn more about Abington Elderly Services, visit: abingtonma.gov/councilonaging.
[DISCLOSURE: This was written by Michele Christian, who has family members employed by Trucchi’s, none of whom were interviewed for this article.]