Assisted living facility coordinates in-house fundraiser for food banks
RONAN — Residents at St. Luke Extended Care are finding creative ways to fill their time and give back to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic has caused a basic lock-down at the facility in an effort to protect high-risk residents from the virus, so they haven’t been participating in community activities or seeing visitors. “ECF is not open to visitors at this time,” said Whitney Liegakos, St. Luke community education and public relations manager.
Although they are in lock-down, news that food assistance needs had increased at local pantries made its way into the care center. So residents decided to help.
Giving back to the community is a regular practice for ECF residents. Every year the St. Luke Extended Care Resident Council chooses a community project. They knew they needed a funding source for this year’s project, but interacting with people outside the facility wasn’t an option.
Kietra Nielsen, activity aid, said the residents decided to do an internal fundraiser and hold a one-day yard sale and art sale inside the facility. “People from the community donated many items,” she said. “The residents haven’t been going out much, so they were pretty excited about the sale. It was a fun day, being able to look at the items and get a chance to shop.”
Betty Sieges, activities manager, said it was amazing to see the group come together to do something so special for the community during such a challenging year.
“Our residents are incredibly resilient,” Sieges said. “Even with all the challenges we’ve had this year, they put others’ needs before their own. I think we could all learn from their example and look for the positives in life – no matter what we might be going through.”
The revenue from the sale was counted and residents were excited to discover they’d raised $1,500. “They combined the event proceeds and a number of personal donations from council members and contacted the food banks to receive their donations,” Liegakos said.
Resident Council Chairperson Amelia Best presented three $500 checks to Polson Loaves and Fish, Ronan Bread Basket and the Mission Valley Food Pantry in St. Ignatius.
“The council has made donations to the food banks in the past, but this year, we worked to donate even more than before,” Best said. “We felt like this was definitely a year they could use the extra funds.”
While the pandemic is still keeping visitors out of the facility, Liegakos said mailed correspondence is a great way for people to connect.
“If you would like to send a card to the ECF residents, they are welcomed and can be mailed to St. Luke in care of Sieges,” she said. The address is St. Luke ECF, Attn: Betty Sieges, activities, 107 6th Ave. SW, Ronan, MT 59864.