Call Out to Seniors and all Community for the Shoreline-Lake Forest Park Senior Center

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Senior Center building on NE 185th
Photo by Jon Ann Cruver
By Donna Hawkey

Theresa LaCroix wants all seniors to know that the Shoreline-Lake Forest Park Senior Center is “operating at full speed and has been since the pandemic.” 

Some seniors are not aware of the array of class offerings online, the food service deliveries and pick-ups, and medical help available at the center because they do not own devices such as a computer, iPad, or smartphone. 

Ms. LaCroix, Executive Director of the Shoreline-LFP Senior Center, needs the community to help in getting the word out. Speedy solutions are in development because seniors need support now more than ever. Social isolation can create or exacerbate many health problems.

The center is “fervently” searching for a grant to purchase loaner tablets and has contracted a local business to train seniors one-on-one, says Ms. LaCroix. Tech-Train will provide the training via telephone, Zoom, or in person at the center using Covid safety protocols. 

King County is working on creating Hotspots. These are locations where free internet will be accessible while sitting in a car so that low-income seniors do not have to incur expensive internet home hook-up and service charges, as reported by Ms. LaCroix.

Many seniors who own technology devices are accessing classes and services and are enjoying this healthy addition to isolated lives. There are numerous classes offered for Shoreline and Lake Forest Park residents, and even social coffee times are online via Zoom and easy to access.

Various and many mental and physical medical health appointments are scheduling, including Foot Care. 

The regular in-house lunch program has become the TO GO Community Dining Program, with meals delivered to the individual homes of seniors Monday-Friday. They can also be picked up at the center after registering in the program. The Meals on Wheels Program, which consists of frozen meals delivered once a week to homes, has seen a large uptick in demand as well.

Vouchers for a full uncooked ham dinner over the December holidays are available through a partnership with Maverick Gaming. To inquire about this offer, please contact National Guardsman Sergeant Suthern, who is assigned to distribute the vouchers. You can reach him at the center’s phone number 206-365-1536.

One disabled senior with no family wrote to Ms. LaCroix that she feels the senior center saved her life because dedicated volunteers brought food to her home during the pandemic.

But too many seniors are still not hearing about these offerings. Ms. LaCroix and the center’s staff miss their regular participants and are concerned about their health and their family members. In-person community connections at the center had previously been a time to learn what was going on in their lives. The staff feels a need to hear from their seniors, so they are doing everything they can to reach out now.

And Herculean efforts and results are taking place behind all this “transition from a traditional channel to an in-home delivery service,” as described recently by King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski. 

Councilmember Dembowski spoke at the NUHSA (North Urban Human Services Association) annual awards ceremony. Ms. LaCroix was nominated in their “Human Services Champion” category. 

Theresa LaCroix, Senior Center
Executive Director
NUHSA Board President, Heidi Shepherd, made the following remarks at the ceremony on December 8th:

“Theresa has gone above and beyond during the pandemic to adapt programs and services so that seniors are still cared for.   
"Between March and October, she coordinated home delivery of more than 11,000 hot cooked meals; provided 1,045 grocery bags to low-income senior households; spent over 340 hours providing Wellness Calls to check on members; and provided over 345 hours to Resource Management, assisting seniors through personal challenges created by COVID-19. 
"She fundraised throughout with creative drive-through dinners and desserts, and help multiple food drives.

As a nomination noted, “Theresa is a great inspiration… She is totally committed to making sure that seniors don’t go hungry and that they are not forgotten.”

Ms. LaCroix describes seniors as being required now to develop a “second language – a digital one… It’s a time of adapting.” It appears that Ms. LaCroix, staff, and volunteers have been adapting well to this pandemic crisis, but sometimes technology lets you down.

A let-down happened on December 1st during the annual “Giving Tuesday” fundraising for nonprofits. The senior center website could not process donations during two major ‘shutdowns’ experienced by Mobile Cause, so essential contributions were not received during that timeframe. Ms. LaCroix is a problem solver, and instead of sighing, she is naming every Tuesday in December - GIVING Tuesday!

Everyone must remember that the center still must pay all their bills and staff salaries, and new issues crop up. For example, Ms. LaCroix explains the following in her December newsletter:

“As all of our industrial kitchen appliances are 30 years old and we were placing heavier use on them daily. 
"November saw the break-down of several appliances: garbage disposal, refrigerator, coffee maker, steamer and 3-door freezer. After servicing the commercial dishwasher, we learned that should it break-down, replacement parts are not available any longer in the nation. 
"We were able to replace the damaged appliances through a VSHSL grant, King County, in the amount of $35,000 and are walking on pins and needles in hopes the dishwasher continues to operate through 2021.”

Giving Tuesday extended for the Senior Center!

She shares with us, that at this point, the Shoreline-LFP Senior Center still has no guaranteed funding to continue its mission throughout 2021. Membership and community support is critical to its future. 

So please GIVE as BIG as you can.

  • Call in a donation to 206-365-1536 for credit/debit card donation
  • Mail a check to Shoreline-LFP Senior Center,18560 1st Ave NE Bldg. G Shoreline, WA 98155
  • Make a donation on our website here.
  • Tell a friend about the center, what they’re doing, and how they can help. Word of mouth is a big assistance in reaching isolated seniors, especially during challenging times. 

Check out the remarkable life services Shoreline-Lake Forest Park Senior Center has done for and with the community!


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