AgeSpan Able to Continue Monthly Senior Grocery Deliveries Thanks to Community

AgeSpan’s Ruth Ortiz, food initiatives program manager, with Gerry Marchand of the AmVets Post 147 in Haverhill, which is the site of the monthly Elder Brown Bag distribution to local seniors. More than 400 bags of food were distributed Tuesday, May 3. (Courtesy photograph.)

AgeSpan reports it was able to keep providing seniors with monthly allotments of food during the pandemic thanks to the generosity of American Veterans Post 147 of Haverhill and other community partners.

AmVets Post 147 provides a large space at its Primrose Street headquarters free of charge for the Brown Bag distribution in Haverhill. AgeSpan, formerly known as Elder Services, makes the groceries available in cooperation with the Greater Boston Food Bank.

In addition, Haverhill residents and organizations, including the Lions Club, Haverhill Council on Aging and Haverhill Housing Authority, volunteer to pack and distribute the “brown bags” with groceries each month. They are given out to income-eligible adults aged 60 and older.

“Thanks to AmVets and all of the volunteers we are able to distribute more than 400 bags of groceries to older adults every month in Haverhill,” said AgeSpan CEO Joan Hatem-Roy. “This type of community partnership is invaluable to making sure people’s needs are met.”

The Brown Bag program fills the food gap for many older adults in Haverhill and surrounding communities who rely on these volunteers to ensure everything is prepared, said Hatem-Roy. The Post’s Gerry Marchand is always on site with the hall unlocked and ready to go by 7 a.m. every month. He stays on site to help out and always lets AgeSpan employees use whatever is needed, including the use of the post dumpster for recycling.

During COVID-19, the AmVets’ hall was closed and the group wasn’t able to generate revenue, yet they allowed AgeSpan to use the space to keep the Brown Bag program going.

Those who wish to learn more about the Elder Brown Bag program may visit online or call 800-892-0890.

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