In a continuing effort to meet the needs of those who live in the Jackson County School District, Every Child is Ours has partnered with Walmart and looks to begin a new program to assist home-bound seniors.
"It is a program where we will go out, get their names, check on them and take them food if needed," explained ECIO board member Edna Cooper. However, the program doesn't end there. When visiting with the home-bound seniors that person will also see what other needs they may assist with. "We want to make them aware of other programs that they may qualify for, that would help them better their lives," said Cooper. According to Cooper, there is no "cut and dry" framework for the program but the home-bound seniors would be helped based on the necessities of an individual. "This is the first (program) of its kind, we can't say what were going to do because you don't know until you go out and see the need," said Cooper. The food delivered will not be cooked meals as previously sought with "Meals on Wheels" but instead consist more of canned foods and other non perishables. "Hopefully what we will do is take food that will make their lives a little easier such as the pull top cans," said Cooper. Entry into to program will be limited in its beginning stages but Cooper urges those who may need assistance, or those who know someone who needs assistance, to call her at 870-217-3014 or call the ECIO food pantry at 870-349-2001. "The main thing is to get the word out because the need is there," Cooper said. "I'm going to try to be the resource that makes them aware of the resources that are available to them." In addition to the the home-bound senior program, ECIO will use parts of the $67,566 grant, donated by Walmart, to purchase a walk-in freezer and two portable generators. According to ECIO Executive Director Jan Paschal the freezer will be in a portable building with lights, heat and air, and space to store clothing and will be placed at the front of the ECIO food pantry. "We have to thank our Fire Department and our schools for letting us store stuff in their freezers when we happen to get more food than we know what to do with." Pashcal said at a recent Tuckerman city council meeting. As for the generators, one will be used for the existing ECIO food pantry and the other for the new freezer to ensure that the pantry's frozen food will be protected in case of power outages.