Hollister Recreation partners with nonprofit to deliver senior meals

Adopt a Senior program provides food, water and other essential supplies.
A local resident drops off donations at the Community Center in Hollister. Photo from Hollister Recreation's Facebook page.
A local resident drops off donations at the Community Center in Hollister. Photo from Hollister Recreation's Facebook page.

With 172 seniors unable or unwilling to step outside their home because of the coronavirus pandemic, Hollister Recreation and senior-focused nonprofit Jovenes de Antaño are joining forces to deliver meals to the county’s most vulnerable recipients.

Tina Garza, supervisor with the city recreation department, said the partnership for the Adopt a Senior program involves partnering Hollister public works staff with Jovenes de Antaño staff to collect and deliver food, water and other essential supplies. She said staff have been trained to use personal protective equipment and began to collect donations last week.

“Adopt a Senior program is very important to help our seniors in our community,” Garza said. “They are the most vulnerable at this time. They are not able to go out and purchase these items. Some aren’t able to drive so we are here to continue to help out in any way we can.”

On Wednesdays, Community FoodBank of San Benito provides “brown bags” for seniors filled with fruits, vegetables, bread, pasta and anything else the food bank can provide. Food bank staff used to drop off the bags at the community center at 300 West Street, but because of COVID-19, public works staff now pick up the supplies and deliver them to seniors.

Garza said Hollister Recreation continues to receive calls from seniors who want to enroll in the program. To meet the demand, the department is accepting donations, which can be dropped off at the community center. She added that residents can drop off any supplies, or have recreation staff pick them up. 

Accepted donations include:

  • Household items including toilet paper, hand soap, disinfecting spray, laundry detergent
  • Food items including canned goods, water, dry pasta, bread, beans, tortillas, Ensure health shakes
  • Personal items including toothpaste, toothbrushes, adult diapers, cleaning wipes

Additionally, Jovenes de Antaño is also accepting monetary donations. Checks can be mailed to the community center with “COVID-19” in the memo line. Online donations can be processed through the Community Foundation for San Benito County directed to Jovenes de Antaño.

Pauline Valdivia, executive director of Jovenes de Antaño, said the program shows seniors that they are valued in the community.

“There are a lot of people that care for the elderly population,” Valdivia said. “It’s going to be good for the people that are being adopted. Some don’t have relatives that live here in Hollister and they are by themselves, so this will make them feel better.”

Garza said the program is not relying on volunteers because they are trying to limit the amount of people that use city buildings and because there is a limited supply of masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment. However, if residents have their own protective equipment, they can call the Hollister Recreation office for more information.

Drop off donations Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Hollister Recreation asks that donations be put in paper bags. For more information, call (831) 636-4390.


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Noe Magaña

Noe Magaña is a BenitoLink reporter. He also experiments with videography and photography. A San Benito High School alumnus with a bachelor's in journalism from San Jose State and a Liberal Arts Associate's Degree from Gavilan College. Noe also attended San Jose City College and was the managing editor for the City College Times, the school's newspaper. He also was a reporter and later a copy editor for San Jose State's Spartan Daily. He is USC Center for Health Journalism 2020 California Fellow.