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Food & Hugs Flow at Saturday’s “Feed The Elderly” Event

Dora Bryan, 83, says she is excited to get home and go through her basket of goodies she received Saturday at Walterboro’s first “Feed The Elderly” event, a love-offering created by Paula Jacques.  Photos by Heather Walters

Dora Bryan, 83, says she is excited to get home and go through her basket of goodies she received Saturday at Walterboro’s first “Feed The Elderly” event, a love-offering created by Paula Jacques. Photos by Heather Walters

Dora Bryan smiles discreetly as she pulls her coral plastic basket of goodies to her, and then she carefully rummages through it. “I can use all of this,” she says, with her smile growing larger and her face looking more serious. “I’m a diabetic, but I do like this chocolate pudding.”

Bryan, 83, is one of nearly a dozen elders in the Walterboro community who received a basket of food on Saturday. The basket also was filled with personal hygiene items and came with hugs from the people who delivered them. “I like cranberry juice, too,” Bryan says, as she gets ready to walk back to her apartment. “This is nice,” she added.

Saturday’s event, called “Walterboro Feeding the Elderly,” will be a monthly event that helps elders in the greater Colleton community. The creator of this charity is Paula Jacques. “What rips my heart the most is that they don’t complain,” said Jacques. Jacques began this effort when her own mother moved into an assisted living community in Walterboro, and she began noticing that some of her mother’s neighbors needed help. “They say they have plenty of Hoppin’ John for dinner, but when you look in the fridge, it’s 13 grains of rice with a piece of meat the size of your thumb.”

Paula Jacques, front, and her friends Tasha DeWitt (center) and Melodie Ellis (left) helped make Saturday’s “Feed the Elderly” event a success.

Paula Jacques, front, and her friends Tasha DeWitt (center) and Melodie Ellis (left) helped make Saturday’s “Feed the Elderly” event a success.

According to Jacques, most of the elderly residents who she is helping either don’t have family, or their family has limited resources. “Most of these seniors only receive $11-$15 per month in food stamps,” she said. “My vision is to have this be an ongoing effort, where people can eventually adopt an older person and just ask them, ‘Do you have food? Do you have medicine? Do you need a friend?’”

Because these residents’ apartments are income-based, Jacques is calling these donations “love offerings,” so that the additional food and volunteer assistance won’t affect their monthly rent and utility costs. On Saturday, members of Colleton County Fire Rescue and several teenagers helped carry the baskets to the apartments of some elderly residents. Many offered to help these residents clean their apartments for monthly inspection, or come back to read to them. “I’m very surprised, very humbled, at people who are giving. People realize this could be your mom, or your grandmother. We don’t have to go to a third-world country to see need. It’s in our backyards.”

To give to this outreach program, or for more information, email Jacques at plw110@yahoo.com, or follow the movement on Facebook at www.facebook.com/walterborofeedtheelderly. Most of Saturday’s donations were monetary, and Jacques and her co-workers at CCFR bought the items for the baskets. Each basket contained canned goods, lotions, Efferdent, toilet paper, magazines, juice, and even pet supplies. “We cannot ignore these people,” she said. “I had to start this effort because my husband noticed our own grocery bill was going up about $100 a week,” she laughed. “You can’t know this is happening and not reach out. This has to be continual.”

Heather Walters (1410 Posts)