Collier Senior Resources (CSR) at the Golden Gate Senior Center – a nonprofit organization working to address the needs of Collier County’s older adults and their caregivers – was recently awarded a $45,000 Moorings Park Foundation grant for the charity’s Direct Assistance and UPSLIDE programs.

“We believe no senior should have to choose between taking life-saving medication and paying for food, nor should they have to face anxiety, depression and isolation alone in what are supposed to be their golden years,” explains Senior Center Director Tatiana Fortune, MSW. “Especially during a global pandemic, these funds are crucial to support our Direct Assistance and UPSLIDE programs as they continue to fill gaps for vulnerable seniors by helping them meet the most basic of human needs.”

CSR established the Direct Assistance program in 2018 to provide emergency financial support to all Collier County seniors 60+ years of age living within 175% of the federal poverty level. Since launching, more than 400 seniors have received one-time financial assistance for medical prescriptions, eye glasses, utility shut-off notices, rent/mortgage payments, durable medical equipment, small appliances, gas cards or other items on a case-by-case basis.

Launched in 2020, UPSLIDE (Utilizing and Promoting Social Engagement for Loneliness, Isolation and Depression in Elderly) provides free socialization and mental health resources for women 60+ years of age through one-on-one visits, individual and group counseling, friendly chat groups and social engagement support. More than 45 women have found hope and healing through this program funded by the Moorings Park Foundation, Women’s Foundation of Collier County and Senior Friendship Centers.

Through the Golden Gate Senior Center, CSR provides: more than 1,200 meals a month to hungry seniors and weekly access to a Meals of Hope food pantry to 780+ families, including 330 needy seniors; a free daily coffee bar; weekly blood pressure, vision and diabetes screenings, oral health assessments, balance testing and fall prevention lectures; monthly birthday parties, dance and exercise classes, art therapy, cards and games, holiday parties, Alzheimer’s support groups, crafts and other life-enhancing offerings.

CSR maximizes each dollar donated by collaborating with trusted partners, including AARP Foundation (job placement and training for out-of-work, low-income seniors), Meals of Hope food pantry for all Collier County families in need, Alzheimer’s Support Network, Area Agency on Aging, Catholic Charities (social services), Collier Area Transport, Collier County Nutrition, Literacy Volunteers, Sheriff’s Office and more.