Montana volunteers help elderly residents during COVID-19 crisis

Posted at 9:17 AM, Nov 19, 2020

BUTTE — When the Senior Center in Sheridan was forced to temporarily close last week due to COVID-19, this stopped the community's daily senior lunch program.

A local restaurant and volunteers jumped into action and continued making lunches and delivering to seniors around the Ruby Valley.

“I really love to be able to do things like this; a lot of these seniors really depend on this food and the social interaction, even that little bit of having someone stop by their house and deliver,” said Janet Marsh, owner of The Shovel and Spoon in Sheridan.

Members of the community didn’t hesitate to volunteer their time to deliver meals.

“I think we have an awesome community here, just amazing, amazing people, I made phone calls and people said yes,” said volunteer Sandra Baril.

“And I found people very loving and supportive of me, and so now I want to give back to the community in being loving and supporting of them," Sheridan volunteer Kim Taylor agreed.

Small communities like Sheridan were spared when the coronavirus first hit Montana in the spring. Now, the virus is hitting this rural area hard.

That’s why staff at the Ruby Valley Medical Center started Elder Liaison Project to have volunteers make daily calls and deliveries to seniors in the region to check on their welfare and their needs.

“So we’re trying to fill those gaps for those folks so they know somebody cares, somebody’s listening, they can call us if they need us, we can answer medical problems,” said Dr. Roman M. Hendrickson of the Ruby Valley Medical Center.

The Ruby Valley is very rural and spread out so this kind of service is very important to the many elderly citizens who live in this community.

“I think the main this is our community is showing that they care. None of this has to do with money, it’s just people’s open hearts and willingness to take care of their neighbors,” said Dr. Hendrickson.