Coronavirus Update: Community Action Commission Continues to Provide Meals to Seniors, Operate 2-1-1 Helpline in Santa Barbara County

Non-Profit Agency Pivots to Remain Open to Serve the Public During Pandemic

GOLETA, Calif. – March 26, 2020 – Community Action Commission of Santa Barbara County (CAC) announces the following updates to two of its health and human service programs that serve county residents. These actions in the Senior Nutrition program and the 2-1-1 Santa Barbara County helpline are in direct response to the coronavirus outbreak; they are effective immediately and until further notice.

CAC’s Senior Nutrition program provides a daily nutritious meal to older county residents. Hot meals are normally served “at-table” at 13 community centers from Carpinteria to Guadalupe, and delivered directly to home-bound seniors around the county. “We had to quickly modify our senior meal model to accommodate social distancing and the shelter-in-place orders,” said Marc Sabin, CAC’s Director of Senior Services. “We continue to serve our consumers at most of the meal sites – a few centers have closed – offering healthy bag lunches to-go, and also giving all seniors the choice of receiving meals at home.”

Last year, CAC formed an innovative vendor relationship with Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD) Food Service to produce healthy meals for local seniors. “SBUSD been amazing to work with,” said Sabin. “They accommodated our changing meal needs at the same time as school closures and their own need to continue to feed food-insecure kids. Though we normally serve hot meals to our seniors, in order to simplify processes during this crucial time, all age groups are now receiving a healthy bag lunch.”

North County Senior Meal Sites Current Status:

Dick Dewees Community Ctr, Lompoc – OPEN

Weitzel Center, Lompoc – OPEN to residents

Cypress Court Ctr, Lompoc – OPEN to residents 

Guadalupe Senior Center – OPEN

Elwin Mussell Senior Ctr, Santa Maria – CLOSED

Atkinson Rec Ctr, Santa Maria – CLOSED

Luis OASIS, Orcutt – CLOSED

South County Senior Meal Sites Current Status:

Villa Caridad, Santa Barbara – OPEN

Franklin Neighborhood Ctr, Santa Barbara – OPEN

Louise Lowry Davis Ctr, Santa Barbara – OPEN

Veterans Hall, Carpinteria – OPEN

Presidio Springs Senior Living – OPEN

Goleta Community Center – CLOSED

County residents can call CAC’s Senior Nutrition program hotline Monday through Friday between 8am and 4pm to inquire about the senior meal service. For those meal sites that are closed, seniors can arrange for home delivery. In South County, dial 805 964-8857 ext. #1140; in North County, dial 805 925-3010. Senior meal center addresses with maps can be found online at cacsb.org/senior

In the past week, there has been an estimated 10% increase in inquiries, new enrollees, and conversions to home delivery for senior meal services in Santa Barbara County. “We anticipate even sharper increases in senior meal participation as this crisis continues,” said Sabin. Nutrition is a vital part of maintaining a healthy immune system, and older people are most at risk for contracting COVID-19 and becoming seriously ill. Support comes from the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens – Area Agency on Aging, as well as private funding.

2-1-1 Santa Barbara County is the centralized information and referral system, connecting people to health and human services, disaster relief and public instruction through live assistance from highly-trained and certified Information & Referral Specialists. The helpline is multilingual, confidential and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at no cost to the caller.

For county residents in need of COVID-19 information and resources:

  • dial 2-1-1 with inquiries (if calling from 805 area code)
  • dial 800 400-1572 (if calling from an area code other than 805)
  • text zip code to 898-211 to connect with a live call specialist
  • visit www.211sbco.org

“We want the public to know about and make use of this valuable community service but we also want them to know that in a life-threatening emergency, always dial 911,” said Elisa Pardo, Program Manager for 2-1-1 Santa Barbara County.

The 2-1-1 program works directly with the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management (OEM), Santa Barbara County Public Health and many other local organizations and agencies to gather, update and house resources and contact information that is then used by accredited call center specialists in their response to calls and texts from the public.

2-1-1 call centers across the nation have been heavily impacted by call volume the past few weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak. Callers should expect some delays and extended hold times. “We are adding staff to our 2-1-1 call center as quickly as we can,” said Pardo.

“In the face of this sudden crisis, we didn’t stop carrying out our mission of serving the community,” said Patricia Keelean, CEO of Community Action Commission of Santa Barbara County. “Our staff is working tirelessly to continue to deliver services, pivoting to develop new logistics as this pandemic unfolds.” County residents are encouraged to follow CAC on social media to receive regular program updates. Community Action Commission (CAC) is on Twitter @CACSanta Barbara, and on Facebook @cachelps.

PRESS CONTACT:

Sheri Mobley, Seamless PR 213 509-9816 (call or text) or 805 845-5627 sheri@seamlesspr.com

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