It was a chilly day but Jean insisted on waiting for H.O.M.E.'s Shopping Bus outside the building where she lives in an affordable supportive living apartment.
When the bus pulled up, her neighbors joined her on the curb to go to the store to purchase food and other home supplies. The Shopping Bus program, supported by donors like you, helps seniors like Jean get goods they need. But it also helps seniors stay engaged and fulfilled.
As our driver, Ernest, made sure that everyone got on the bus safely and buckled their seat belts, the group of seniors who all live in the same building caught up with one another. They talked about the results of the recent election and the weather turning colder.
"I'm actually looking forward to the snow! I haven't seen snow in over 50 years," one rider replied. She'd moved back to Chicago from Florida earlier this year. When she moved, she also made the decision to give up her drivers license.
"I don't know how I'd get to the store now without the bus."
Everyone had there plans for what they were going to buy that day.
In addition to some pantry basics, Jean had art supplies on her shopping list. She's working on two projects - one to brighten her apartment and one for an exhibit she was invited to participate in at her church.
Jean says she's been an artist since she was in her 50s when she took some college level classes. Now 79 years old, she considers herself more than an amateur.
When the bus arrived at the store, Ernest helped Jean and her neighbors get off the bus safely and made sure everyone had their mobility devices.
Like most of the riders who use our Shopping Bus program, almost everyone on the bus that day used an assistive device to get around.
At the store, Jean carefully went up and down the aisles using her walker. She had brought her own bags, being conscious of the impact of plastic bags on the environment. In fact, her art project is going to highlight how plastics are hurting the coral reefs in Australia.
She was delighted to see that 2019 wall calendars were out.
"I already have doctor's appointments scheduled for January so I need this. It's only a dollar - not bad!"
Having found everything she needed, Jean headed to the front of the store to wait to board the bus again. She handed her bag and walker to Ernest and he supported her as she climbed onto the bus.
One of her neighbors greeted her and said, "I'm tired from a simple shopping trip! Guess that shows you that the less you do, the less energy you have."
Jean said she doesn't get out much either.
Back at home, Jean and her neighbors gathered their items with Ernest's help.
"Well, we had some fun today, didn't we," Jean said.
The Shopping Bus program is a delight for seniors like Jean who use it to get out of their apartments. They don't have to rely on often inaccessible public transportation, and have an extra hand to help them do their shopping safely.
How you can help
We rely on donations from individuals like you to help seniors maintain their independence by having the housing and support services they need.
This year H.O.M.E. has joined #ILGive to celebrate Giving Tuesday.
Will you mark your calendar for November 27, 2018 to give to make a big impact for seniors in 2019?
As a bonus, our board and staff have agreed to sing (beautifully) "Walking in a Winter Wonderland" in UGLY holiday sweaters at our annual holiday party if we reach our goal of $25,000. Watch the video here.
Or, donate today.
This post is part of our series to celebrate Giving Tuesday, which will take place this year on November 27, 2018. The idea behind #GivingTuesday is to kickoff the holiday-giving season, in the same way that Black Friday and Cyber Monday kickoff the holiday-shopping season.
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