Conducting Major COVID-19 Outreach For City/Advocates A “Brother’s Keeper” Approach
DeSoto’s Parks & Recreation Department, which operates the City’s Senior Activity Center, is now in the midst of a large scale outreach effort to contact more than 3,000 DeSoto Seniors. On any given day between 100 and 150 Seniors would normally visit the Senior Activity Center to take part in regularly scheduled activities, eat healthy a lunch, or conduct choir practice for their famed Golden Voices Choir. But all that changed with the rise of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Even though the center was closed on March 16th, Parks and Recreation personnel continued to keep in contact with the Seniors from their center, and on Monday, April 6th they greatly expanded their efforts and began a large scale outreach on behalf of the City of DeSoto to more than 3,000 Seniors in DeSoto.
“Our calls are friendly and supportive. There are enough challenges for older residents these days that we want to ease their minds and make sure that all is well,” stated M. Reneé Johnson, who had been DeSoto’s Interim City Manager but returned to her previous and favorite assignment as the Director of DeSoto’s Parks & Recreation Department when new City Manager Brandon Wright came onboard.
In addition to keeping up the lines of communications, sharing contact information for DeSoto’s Action Center for service follow-up, Parks & Recreation outreach personnel are listening for any spoken “red flags” that might indicate a problem.
Parks also wanted to go beyond their communications for Seniors to appeal directly to their families, friends, and neighbors to “be their brother’s keeper” and do little things to help the Seniors in their lives get through this crisis period. Whether your Senior is a family member, next-door neighbor, or a friend from church, if you are going out for groceries, see if there is anything that you can pick-up for them. And if they need a prescription picked up or important over the counter meds, your intervention can literally be a lifesaving one. Of course, those providing this assistance should take all possible precautions to keep the items safe and protected and arrange a contact-free drop off so you don’t inadvertently put them at risk.
“As difficult as it is for all of us living through the COVID-19 Pandemic, it’s especially hard on our Seniors who are at highest risk and who also feel the loneliness of isolation,” observed DeSoto Mayor Curtistene S. McCowan. “Our Parks & Recreation Department is reaching out to 3,000 of them on DeSoto’s behalf to see how they are doing and let them know that they are not alone and that we are going to make it through this together.”
To learn more about DeSoto Parks & Recreation visit their website at www.desototexas.gov/parks, and for service requests call the City of DeSoto’s Action Center during regular business hours at 972.274.CITY (2489).