LGD of Piney Community Resource Council
Meet Mel Parent, the community resource coordinator with the Local Government District (LGD) of Piney Community Resource Council. Mel has been working with the resource council for many years. She finds joy in her job predominantly through “helping seniors access things they couldn't without [her] and relieving their stress through problem-solving and connecting them with accessibility resources.” In addition, Mel is responsible for coordinating the programs that the resource council provides. This includes the congregate meal plan and delivery, friendly visiting volunteers, assistance filling out forms and scheduling appointments, volunteer transportation and errand running. At origination, Mel joined the PRCC on behalf of the LGD of Piney Community Resource Council to establish a reciprocal relationship of giving and taking. Since then, the PRCC has begun working with them to bring in more grants to the community for seniors activities and opportunities.
Many programs have looked different since the pandemic began in early 2020, including many that simply cannot be offered safely. Mel has mostly been working from home which has been difficult for many of the seniors. “It's been a challenge to navigate solutions and provide assistance to seniors while ensuring their safety.” With little to no programming, seniors are the most vulnerable demographic to succumb to many of the manifest and latent functions of the pandemic. Mel has taken the initiative in her work to create personal relationships with many seniors in the community. Since the early days of the pandemic, she has put forth additional efforts to maintain a consistent line of communication with many seniors in the community for their benefit. Now that she cannot personally visit them, she conducts more regular check-ins and allows people to call just to hear a familiar voice because “[her] job is about more than just coordinating the programs, it's about making sure everyone is happy.”
LGD Community Resource Council
The LGD Community Resource Council's mission is to keep seniors active in the community as much as possible with activities and resources that are useful for seniors. “As an area with a high population of ageing people, maintaining their independence is held as a strong value.” The LGD of Piney Resource Council offers different programs heavily run by volunteers, such as transportation and errands. In addition, there are three congregate meal programs within the community that have paid cooks and volunteer service and delivery.
The weekly meal programs that used to be hosted in the community halls are now
meals on wheels. There is no contact grocery delivery and phone call check-ins. Mel made a newsletter with individual activities for the seniors to do. Transportation has been an issue. In 2021 the PRCC partnered with Mel and the LDG to use a $25,000 grant to bring in new resources to connect the seniors with the younger generations in the community through resource-based skill transference. The grant will be set toward a two-phase project. Initially, the grant will be carefully spent on items and equipment that can be used to assist businesses with prototyping, development, and expansion. Once the pandemic restrictions subside, the second phase of action will be community interaction. This will be an opportunity for bilateral skill sharing, such as teaching seniors how to use technology and mentoring youth in unique marketable skills that cannot be learned from other avenues. In the future, the PRCC will continue to work with Mel and the LGD of Piney Community Resource Council to provide more opportunities for the area.