Riverside police officers and firefighters will join other city employees in paying personal visits to the homes of dozens of seniors Thursday through Saturday as part of a campaign to encourage homebound individuals to stay connected to the community and understand what resources are available to them.
The “Protect & Serve Riverside Seniors” campaign will begin with a news briefing at 11 a.m. Thursday outside Riverside City Hall, during which Mayor Rusty Bailey and Riverside Meals on Wheels executive director Janice Bielman will outline the planned engagement efforts.
“Our seniors are a community treasure, and they deserve our respect and gratitude for what they have done to build the city we all enjoy today,” Bailey said. “One of our most important responsibilities is ensuring they are safe. I’m proud to work with Meals on Wheels and our public safety agencies to promote programs that assist our seniors.”
According to city officials, fire crews and law enforcement officers will visit at least 125 homes, delivering freshly made meals and offering simple assistance, such as checking the functionality of smoke detectors and alerting recipients to the city’s “You Are Not Alone” program, which includes free bracelets explaining how to obtain assistance in the event a person becomes disoriented or lost.
Parks, Recreation & Community Services Department staff will also be furnishing seniors with information about the city’s free transportation program and other resources available at little or no cost.
Bielman said she hoped the campaign would inspire people to donate to the Meals on Wheels program, which ensures homebound seniors have at least one solid meal a day. Donations can be made at www.riversidemealsonwheels.org.
“Our service is more than a meal,” she said. “The real magic is in the connections between our volunteers and the seniors they serve. Sometimes our Meals on Wheels volunteers are the only human connections our seniors experience. We are tackling not only the issue of senior hunger, but of senior isolation as well.”
According to Bailey, some of the meals that will be delivered between Thursday and Saturday were donated by area businesses.
He declared that the campaign “highlights the best of Riverside.”
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