“In the midst of every crisis
lies great opportunity.”
~Albert Einstein

2020 has undoubtedly been a time of crisis.  Together we have experienced a world-wide pandemic, social unrest, wildfires, and public safety power shut offs.  We have seen issues that have always existed for people with disabilities and older adults intensified by the COVID-19 Pandemic. These issues include access to food and nutrition, access to high speed internet to connect with loved ones and obtain online goods and services, access to stable and affordable housing, and isolation and loneliness as community members stay home to reduce the their exposure to COVID-19.  While the year has been challenging and at times  exhausting, we see opportunities to enhance services and supports now, and anticipate that this work will carry forward into better community-based supports for people with disabilities and older adults in the future.

FREED has been at the frontlines of the response efforts to these multiple crises, all of which have a disproportional  impact on people with disabilities and older adults. FREED quickly pivoted to address gaps in services with a community-based response. Our staff immediately worked with community partners to develop new programs and  expand existing programs to support people who are most at-risk for complications related to COVID-19.

This work includes:

  • 1,850 deliveries of groceries and pre-prepared frozen meals
  • 1,919 restaurant and food vouchers distributed to support individuals and local businesses
  • 3,300 phone calls by volunteers to isolated people with disabilities and older adults to provide community connection and support mental health
  • 65 Chromebooks provided, along with technical support, so individuals can access online shopping, healthcare, support services, and connect with friends and family
  • 32 individuals provided with rental, utility, or hotel assistance to prevent homelessness or support individuals who are homeless to find safe and stable housing
  • 23,400 pieces of PPE distributed including masks, hand sanitizer, and gloves to community members and organizations
  • 110 individuals supported as they left the hospital or transitioned from a nursing home, where they are more likely to contract COVID, to their own home