A new buddy system aims to help people feel less isolated during COVID-19 lockdowns
Due to lockdowns imposed by government officials, many people feel isolated from living a normal life; people with critical illnesses being some of the most vulnerable to such policies. To combat negative impacts, The Everest Foundation, spearheaded by Dr. Michael Everest, is joining forces with Project Angel Food.
This new initiative, a $55,000 program funded by EF, aims to not only help feed those with critical illnesses, but also pair volunteers with clients of Project Angel Food who feel alone and isolated. It’s called the “Telephone Angels Program.”
The Everest Foundation
The Everest Foundation, founded by Chairman Emeritus, Dr. Michael Everest, is a non-profit global organization dedicated to changing the world of medicine. They implement efforts with funding to graduate medical education, venture philanthropy, and innovative research. They provide millions of dollars to such pursuits that include residential placement for patients.
Not only do they strive to fund cutting-edge medical research, but they also optimize the nature and influence of residency programs. They give money for initiatives specific to programs that benefit teaching hospitals. They also fund some of the most cutting-edge medical research and address the needs of communities, trainees, physicians, and scientists.
Project Angel Food
Since its founding in 1988, Project Angel Food is a volunteer-based organization providing meals for those living with critical illnesses in Los Angeles. These meals are specific to each client’s medical needs and come directly from their LA kitchen.
Project Angel Food feeds 2,300 people every day. They service clients suffering from a myriad of diseases like cancer, heart disease, HIV/AIDs, and diabetes.
Their work in Los Angeles is so important that the Mayor’s office labeled it an essential service throughout Los Angeles County. They’ve served over 13 million meals for almost 40 years and more than one million meals since April 2020 in response to the COVID-19 lockdown policies.
The Telephone Angels Program
These two important organizations came together for the Telephone Angels Program in April 2020 and have seen great success. Along with regular deliveries, the program provides social and wellness checks to clients who feel alone and isolated.
They do this on a weekly or bi-weekly basis for as little as 10 minutes or for as long as two hours. About 90% of participants report improvements to their mood and wellbeing.
“Sometimes you just need someone to listen,” said Project Angel Food’s Executive Director, Richard Ayoub, who discusses the importance of The Everest Foundation’s funding for this solutions-based program
The volunteers don’t give psychological counseling or medical advice, just friendship and human contact. They want to expand the program to include more Project Angel Food clients by recruiting more volunteers and fund their training alongside technical support. The Telephone Angels Program comes under one of The Everest Foundation’s missions, which is to support underserved communities.
The organization is overjoyed to work with Project Angel through implementing the Telephone Angel Program, according to Agata Everest, Everest Foundation Chair, and wife of Dr. Michael Everest. She also relates how proud they are to be a part of the solution.
This is because the program provides an accessible, holistic approach that concentrates on wellbeing and physical health at the same time. Dealing with a critical illness is hard enough, the isolation only adds to surmounting difficulties. But the Telephone Angel Program is helping these people see light during dark times.