During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Elder Initiative @ William Way organized their Food and Nutrition Program for residents of the John C. Anderson apartment building. While funding lasted, it was an immensely beneficial program for residents, who received fresh produce, prepared foods, and boxed meals for free. We spoke with resident P.C. Wilson about the program and that strange time in our recent history.
P.C. has been a John C. Anderson resident for about six years. To her understanding, there have been very few programs similar to the Food and Nutrition Program, especially one explicitly designated for LGBT elders.
Having the food brought to the building was extremely helpful to the residents, who no longer had to take trips to the grocery store to survive. During the height of the pandemic, this was instrumental in keeping folks safe and healthy. The residents at John C Anderson are elders, many of whom live on a fixed income, and so the program also alleviated financial stress.
As a result of the food program, residents started cooking more. It would not be a huge surprise to have cookies shared amongst residents, which was a welcome respite considering the solitude brought by COVID-19.
P.C. told us: “If I didn’t want something [from the delivery], I’d just give it to somebody else in the building. Sometimes they’d give you two dozen bananas! I don’t cook, but the people who do will always take stuff, so nothing goes to waste.”
Residents were proud of their homemade meals utilizing the food program, posting photographs on social media, and continuing to build a sense of unity within the building. Sharing food with others has always been a core aspect of community, and the JCA residents feel this connection with each other.
As its grant funding was depleted, the Food and Nutrition Program ended in December 2021, and the residents immediately missed it. Starting up the program again would mean a lot to residents like P.C., as it saved time and money and provided the residents with a variety of healthy food.
“I would love to have that program back in the building,” P.C. explains. “I have some friends who have some serious health issues, so they can’t get up and do their shopping, either. It will be good for them.”
Programs such as Food and Nutrition at JCA are essential, not just on a financial or nutritional level but also on an emotional one. P.C. told us: “I appreciate Elder Initiative, sometimes we elders are forgotten, especially the LGBT community. We’re here, we’re aging, and there aren’t a lot of programs out there to help us. That’s why the programs that do exist are so important. I really miss it now. I think we all miss it.”
The Elder Initiative @ William Way is hosting our annual A Cause For Applause benefit on Thursday, June 9, 2022. In a virtual celebration with a live in-person audience, we will gather to celebrate the work of our organization and honor members and organizations that support our mission in assuring that LGBT older adults have the rights and opportunities to live vibrant lives. We invite you to join us and support programs such as our Food and Nutrition Program at JCA!