Niagara University Ostapenko Center brings Valentines to seniors and disabled individuals
Kaylyn Townsend, project director at Niagara University’s Rose Bente Lee Ostapenko Center for Race, Equity and Mission; and Heart, Love and Soul housing and service coordinator Amira Akpaloo and homeless outreach case manager Alyssa Heitman prepare to distribute Valentine-themed bags to vulnerable seniors and disabled individuals living at Wrobel and Spallino Towers in Niagara Falls. Photo courtesy of Niagara University
NIAGARA UNIVERSITY– Once again, Niagara Falls’ most vulnerable residents were treated to holiday goodie bags, thanks to the outreach efforts of the Rose Bente Lee Ostapenko Center for Race, Equity and Mission at Niagara University, in partnership with the Niagara Falls Health Equity Task Force.
On Feb. 12, staff members from the center and other local organizations distributed 445 bags to vulnerable seniors and disabled individuals living at Wrobel and Spallino Towers. The bags contained a Valentine’s Day card or letter, hand sanitizer, a mask, an activity booklet, a pen and information from Mount St. Mary’s Hospital. In addition, because the Covid-19 vaccine is becoming available to the senior and disabled population, a fact sheet about the vaccine was also included to help decrease vaccine hesitancy.
“There is so much misinformation out there, so it is important to put people in the best position to make an educated decision about their health,” said Kaylyn Townsend, project director at the Ostapenko Center. She added that the task force encourages the community to check on seniors to help ensure they stay healthy and emotionally well.
Other community members of the task force involved in this project include Heart, Love and Soul; YWCA of the Niagara Frontier /Carolyn’s House; the Niagara Falls Housing Authority; Mount St. Mary’s Hospital; and Niagara Organizing Alliance for Hope (NOAH).