Catholic Charities of Eastern Washington in need of ‘shopping angels’

SPOKANE, Wash. – An organization known for helping others in the community is in need of some help of its own. Catholic Charities of Eastern Washington is trying to help seniors with food and friendship.

The need just keeps growing the longer we’re in a pandemic.

“The need is very great and we are always asking for nonperishable items to be donated by our shopping angels,” said Sarah Yerden, with Catholic Charities of Eastern Washington.

Shopping Angels are those who can donate food to the organization, so they can give it to seniors in need.

Donating food can be contactless. Catholic Charities has a basket outside of their main office doors for anyone to drop food off. That food will then be taken inside to be disinfected and sit on a table, waiting for a staff member to put together a bag of food for seniors.

“Our residents will call us or our housing social services will call us, and we’ll put food orders together and deliver them out to our residents in need,” Yerden said.

The organization has nine different senior housing programs, helping hundreds of people in need.

During this pandemic, it’s not easy for them to go out and get the groceries.

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As the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order got extended, Yerden said some of the residents are getting restless being inside.

“So, we’re also asking for puzzles, cards, soduku, crosswords, any type of activity or game that can be done in their home, would be such a blessing,” Yerden said.

Yerden says the organization is grateful for all the donations its received so far.

“We have such a generous community and it really is during this difficult time, you really see the community coming together and you really see that in our shopping angels program, as well as our friendly chat program,” she said.

The friendly chat program is where volunteers can also help by calling seniors who might need someone to talk to.

Bishop William Skylstad is one person who is trying to help out in any way he can. He’s volunteered for more than a decade with Catholic Charities in different ways, one being at the front desk at House of Charity. Since the spread of COVID-19, he’s had to stop.

“You’re very limited in what you can do, especially now for volunteers who are asked to stay away for obvious reasons. I’m 86 now, so I’m in one of the very vulnerable parts of the population,” Bishop Skylstad said.

So calling someone on the phone is how he can help, talking to nine people once a week.

“Each time they do that, they’re very appreciative of someone who has thought about them or cared about them and asked if they have any particular need,” he said.

At that point, seniors could ask for food and that’s how they get help.

If you’d like to be a shopping angel, you can drop off non-perishable food items at Catholic Charities’ main office on 12 E. Fifth Avenue in Spokane.

READ: Here’s how you can be a helper during the coronavirus pandemic

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