A human being is a part of the whole, called by us "Universe", a part limited in time and space. One experiences oneself as something separated from the rest- a kind of optical delusion of one's consciousness. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Albert Einstein
Too many veterans have unjustifiably been denied benefits to which they are entitled. Many are quite indignant about their past treatment by the Veterans Administration. Now as they are aging and many are suffering health consequences of their military service, additional burdens have been placed on them and their families as they struggle to cope with medical needs, health issues and financial difficulties.
The rules for applying for benefits have changed. Rather than having to assume the burden of proof that their health issues are related, for example, to exposure to Agent Orange, now the presumption is, if they are some of the over 4 million American service personnel who served in Vietnam during the time this was used, their health issues are most probably related to this exposure, and they are entitled to benefits.
If there is any question that former service members are receiving all the benefits to which they are entitled, they are encouraged to fill out a 2 page questionnaire, available online at http://www.va.gov and select the "Contact the VA" option. Hard copies are available at the North County Food Pantry in Elk. Theresa is available at the Pantry on Mondays to assist in any way, answer questions, and connect to Outreach Social Workers at the VA.
On the first Monday of the month, a van from Valley Veteran Center comes to the Pantry. They have computer access to records and can start the sign-up process.
If there is any possibility you are entitled to benefits, please contact Theresa at the Food Pantry on Mondays 11-2. You need not be a client to receive this help. All vets and their families are welcome.
This article was previously published in the Elk Sentinel, your community newspaper.
By Guest Blogger Gail
Tom’s Turkey Drive provides Thanksgiving meals for our Elk and Chattaroy neighbors in need. Again this year, the North County Food Pantry will distribute these dinners. We wish to thank Food Services of America for delivering the 250 meals to our Pantry in time for Thanksgiving. You do not need to be a client of the Food Pantry to receive a meal. Anyone in our service area (zip codes 99003 and 99009) who might not otherwise be able to enjoy a turkey dinner with all the trimmings, is invited to sign up. Sign up must be done in person and in advance. Turkey pick-up will be on Monday, November 19 between 6-7:00pm.
If you haven’t attended the Thanksgiving Community Dinner at Riverside High School, you don’t know what you are missing! Mark your calendar for Wednesday, November 21 from 6-8 in the school cafeteria. Food left over comes to the Pantry, where we package and freeze complete meals for individuals and families. The generosity of the Riverside school community supports the Pantry in several other ways. Recently the school received a cash donation and shared that gift with the North County Food Pantry to help families with emergency food needs. They also plan several food drives throughout the school year that help boost our inventory in a very meaningful way.
Our Community Garden volunteer crew has been awarded a grant from Catholic Charities to help cover expenses. These funds will be used to upgrade the irrigation system, improve fencing, and build additional elevated planting beds. Several tons of organic, healthy fruits and vegetables are harvested each year for distribution to Pantry clients. We are grateful to Catholic Charities and to our faithful volunteers who work tirelessly to plant, tend and harvest.
Bon, our industrious resource volunteer, has uncovered a new resource for people in need of caregiving or skilled care that would help them stay at home. Stop by or call Bon at the Pantry (292-2530) on Mondays from 11-2 to learn more.
Without volunteers the Pantry would fail to flourish as the “Gathering Place”. Serving a hot meal to our clients is something that distinguishes us from other Food Banks. However, we are still in need of a Monday “cook”. Please contact Sandy at 292-2530 if cooking for a crowd is something you enjoy. There is no out of pocket expense, just a commitment of your time. The compensation comes in the happy faces of the clients we serve!
Recently one of our volunteers replaced all the outside lighting, helping to secure our building, equipment and inventory. Other volunteers do behind the scenes work like maintenance, cleaning, stocking, repackaging and grant-writing. If you can help in any way, it would be greatly appreciated. Call or stop by the Pantry on Mondays from 11-2 or Wednesdays from 9-noon to see how you can help.
The article first appeared in the Elk Sentinel, your community newspaper.
Being yourself is overrated
Be anyone you want to be.
Or, to quote George Eliot, "It's never too late to be who you might have been".
So-o-o, what are you waiting for?
Life is not measured by the breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away. Camping at a remote lake, at midnight we slid the canoe into the water and paddled to the center of the glassy lake, looked up, thousands of stars everywhere-awesome. Then, looking down, saw all those stars reflected in the water, like being in the middle of the cosmos, feeling so small, so special, so connected. Breath-taking, thank you.
Caring for a family member can be greatly rewarding, but it can have many challenges. Aging and Long Term Care has a program to help unpaid caregivers for a family member or people needing help who have no family caregivers so they can stay in their home if they choose. The focus is on supporting the caregiver. Services include individual counseling or support groups, training, or respite if you need a break, even massage therapy. Supplies and medical equipment necessary to assist with care giving, including a wheelchair ramp, can be purchased. The benefit under Tailored Support for Older Adults (TSOA) is fixed at $550 per month, not to exceed $3,300 in a six-month period.
To qualify, the person receiving help must need assistance with daily activities, such as bathing, walking, medications, transportation, housekeeping, errands, etc. Eligibility also depends on income and assets. The gross income limit must be at or below $2,250 per month, for both single and married people. If you are married, your spouse’s income is not counted. The limit for resources (assets, property, savings) are $53,100 for a single person and $108, 647 for a married couple. There is no “estate recovery” for homeowners. Estate recovery is a lien attached to property to pay the state back for the cost of care. Concern about estate recovery keeps many people from seeking assistance.
Call 509 960 7281 to see what options for care are right for your situation and to help facilitate family conversations.
There are forms for these services available at the North County Food Pantry to check out the criteria and also to see what info is required to apply. Stop by on Monday and talk with Bon. The Pantry is located at 40015A N. Collins Road in Elk.
Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous. (Albert Einstein). Remember when you were in the right place at the right time? Or when you met the right person? Or asked the right question? Coincidence or a mini-miracle? It isn't too late to say thank you.
Currently 40 million Americans give assistance to elderly or disabled friends or family members, with 1/3 of them providing more than 21 hours weekly. Caring for someone in this situation is an act of kindness but few people are prepared for the disruptions that caregivers experience. Untrained and unqualified, they struggle to help, sometimes leaving a job, putting additional financial strain on families. If the situation escalates or if some form of dementia is involved, it becomes even more difficult. It is easy to feel discouraged and overwhelmed.
With longer life expectancies and more complex medical care the need for caregivers will increase.
There are many programs and resources to help, such as small training classes to deal with immediate and future problems, meals, transportation, in home care, and chores, minor home repairs, Medicare and Medicaid counseling. Physical modifications to the home, such as grab bars in the bathroom, medical/handicap equipment such as shower benches, portable toilets, wheelchairs and walkers can alleviate many problems.
If you are experiencing needs in this area, contact Aging and Long Term Care at altcew.org or call 509 458 2509. All services are free and confidential.
Stop by the North County Food Pantry, 40115A N. Collins Rd. in Elk on Monday 11-2 and talk with Bon for additional resources. You need not be a client to access this information.