TULSA, Okla. — A group of Tulsa organizations worked together to make this year's unique Easter Sunday special for seniors who are currently still under a shelter-in-place order due to COVID-19.
During this time, families are usually gathered together to celebrate the holiday, but social distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus has changed that tradition.
Eva Fraizer Campbell is an 80-year-old resident living in the Northwind Estates. She usually goes to Easter Sunday Service and spends time with family, but this year her plans were different.
"I would have loved to go to Church today," Campbell said. "But we can't go, and that makes me sad, but there isn't anything we can do about it."
The Tulsa mayor implemented a shelter-in-place order for the most vulnerable citizens in Tulsa, which included those in our community over the age of 60.
To keep senior citizens like Campell safe, many families are not visiting their older relatives, and retirement homes aren't permitting visitors.
"I have grandchildren and great-grandchildren that usually would come and visit," Campbell said. "But not right now."
Knowing that many senior citizens would be spending Easter Sunday by themselves, a group of organizations worked together to bring the seniors a little joy on the holiday.
The Terence Crutcher Foundation, District 1 City Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper, Edurec, and the George Kaiser Family Foundation surprised residents at four different independent living homes designated for seniors and Tulsa citizens who are disabled.
"For close to a month, our seniors have been sheltered at home resulting from COVID19, and we wanted to show them that despite social distancing mandates, they are connected to a community of people who care," said Dr. Tiffany Crutcher, Founder of the Terence Crutcher Foundation.
District 1 City Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper, Tulsa Police Department Major Crimes Lt. Charles Harper, and Dr. Crutcher made hundreds of to-go meals to deliver to the seniors.
"A lot of love went into these meals, we stayed up until 2 o'clock this morning and got up at 6 o'clock to make sure everything was special," Dr. Crutcher said.
The meal consisted of slow-smoked chicken, mashed potato, green beans, a dinner roll, and a slice of pound cake.
"I want my constituents to know that they are not forgotten and to provide them with a small glimpse of hope during this time of uncertainty," said Hall-Harper.
Along with the hot meals, volunteers gave the seniors gift bags they are calling "Hope Packs" made by Asbury United Methodist Church and World Won for Christ.
The packs are filled with toiletries, books, word puzzles, socks, and snacks.
"Even though there is a mandate for social distancing, they are still connected with people in the community who still truly care," Dr. Crutcher said.
The group delivering the meals and hope packs wore masks, gloves, and stayed about seven feet away from residents once they opened the door.
"We want to show them we are there for them, and they are not forgotten," Harper said. "All while being safe and following CDC guidelines.
The volunteers handed out over 400 hot meals at West Edison Plaza, Gilcrease Hills Estates, Crestview Senior Duplexes, and Northwind Estates.
"It was a surprise, and it was a good blessing," Campbell said. "It has just made me so happy today; God bless them."
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