Food Insecurity and Hunger in America

Posted by on Apr 14, 2021 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Food Insecurity and Hunger in America

Food Insecurity and Hunger in America When the pandemic began last year, more American families than ever were thrown into the situation of not knowing where the next meal was coming from. Lines at food pantries snaked around pylons in parking lots as long as the Covid-19 testing lines. And while our country has been dealing with hunger for far longer than the pandemic, most food pantries and shelters still struggle to keep up with the demand.This updated report from Feeding America states that: “The COVID-19 crisis has dealt a swift blow to the economic health of individuals and communities across the country, and the effects have the potential to be long-term. It took ten years for food insecurity rates to return to pre-Great Recession levels. For now, with no immediate end to the crisis in sight, demand for charitable food assistance is expected to remain at elevated levels for the foreseeable future.”CLICK HERE for full report.  As an industry, the National Association of Senior & Specialty Move Managers (NASMM), to which we belong, has focused on helping to stock food banks. Our charitable partner, Move for Hunger helps by teaming up with movers and move managers to collect food items that homeowners will not be taking with them and donating them to local food pantries.CLICK HERE to visit Move Hunger’s website.  May is the designated month for bringing awareness to food instability and Golden Bridges has participated in Move for Hunger food drives that have collected over 22 million pounds of food in the US and Canada. This year we are starting early on April 17th at the Pittsfield Health and Wellness Fair. We will have our vans at Pittsfield Lake between 10am and 2pm that day. And with the return of the Quincy Area Chamber of Commerce’s Dogwood Parade we will again be walking with our shopping carts to collect food donations on May 1st.We hope you will be able to participate in one of these events! “But what should I donate?” you ask.When it comes to meeting the greatest need, cash is king. By donating cash, you enable those operating the pantries to purchase what is just right for their most pressing needs. It’s also a good idea to check with the charity to see what they can accept, and what they can’t.See what some experts have to say on the subject:https://www.todaysparent.com/family/parenting/food-banks-need/https://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-blog/what-donate-food-bank-and-what-avoidhttps://www.theeverydaymomlife.com/mom-life/donating-to-food-banks/https://www.delish.com/food/g4557/things-you-should-never-donate-food-bank/So what are some items that you can bring to these Golden Bridges food drives?Peanut butterPudding cupsCooking oilBoxed mixes (especially if they only need water to prepare)Canned meat or pouches of chicken, tuna, salmon, etc.Dried fruitFlour and sugarSpicesDried pastasBoxed or bagged cerealGrainsInstant coffee and teaHowever, if you think that donating gives you an opportunity to clean out your own kitchen cupboards, think again. Food pantries DON’T accept anything that has been opened and half used, any foods that are out of date, cans that are dented or rusted, and anything that was cooked at home.Helping people live life better. It’s what we do at Golden Bridges… for our clients, and our communities. Please give us a hand this year as we pack our vans full so we can pack the pantries serving those in need.Susan Scholz, PartnerGolden...

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Here’s to Year 8

Posted by on Mar 17, 2021 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Here’s to Year 8

Here's to Year 8 I was born on August eighth, nineteen fifty eight. 8-8-58. When I give that birthdate, which we are asked to do almost everywhere these days, people always remark, “That’s a lot of 8s”. So, it’s easy to see why 8 is my lucky number.  Well, this year – in a few short days – on April 1st, Golden Bridges turns eight years old! Who starts a business on April Fool’s Day? And on April Fool’s Day of twenty thirteen?  To answer that question, I take you back a few years earlier when the co-owners of Golden Bridges knew we wanted to work together; we wanted to own a business; we wanted to fill a niche in the community. Senior Move Management was the answer. So at the age of eight, what are we up to?  Well, it’s probably easy for you to understand that last year was not Lucky 7. The 2020 pandemic was declared one year ago. Early on, we learned that we were considered essential workers and thus could continue to serve clients who wanted or needed to move. However, the dangers surrounding the CoVid-19 virus made moving less than desirable.  How did we weather the storm of the pandemic? We had strong business advice about how to structure our finances when we started the business. Our friend, Cyndi Thomason (Owner of bookskeep, Author, and Certified Master Profit First Professional) who now gives advice to a multitude of new entrepreneurs, was generous enough to teach us how to save for a rainy day and make it through tough times. We are thankful for her wisdom and guidance.CLICK HERE to read Cyndi’s book.  How did we use our time during the pandemic? We spent it together, becoming stronger owners and leaders. After winning the inaugural Quincy Area Chamber of Commerce’s business plan competition and placing in the top four of the inaugural Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneur Challenge we received not only cash investment but also a business coach, Kim Strohmeier of Still Waters Entrepreneurial Services. This year, we have returned to learn even more about surviving in an economic storm.CLICK HERE to learn more about our business coach. How are we moving forward? We are returning to the roots of our mission and values. Our mission is to provide solutions to those in transition. Our values: Compassion, Innovation, and Determination. During the slowdown of clients, we have refined those values by defining our goals around them.  Customer Forward – CompassionRather than customer first, or customer centered, we will always proceed in a manner that moves our customer forward, using compassion to help them reach their goal.Providing Solutions – InnovationAs new barriers arise, our teams will work together to find innovative solutions that move the customer forward.Empower the Employee – DeterminationThe team in the field are the front line problem solvers, empowered and determined to make decisions that move the customer forward. How are we celebrating our eighth anniversary? We’re having a party! Two, in fact. On Thursday, April 1, at 1pm, we are presenting a free webinar introducing our referral partners to a software tool we are using called FairSplit. It allows us to make a pictorial inventory of our clients’ heirlooms and split them among the heirs… without all the drama.  Founder, and Golden Bridges friend, David MacMahan, created the company to “Divide Things, not Families”. This software allows us to show everyone Grandma’s pie plate or Grandpa’s tools and let’s them select the items that mean the most to them.CLICK HERE to learn more about Fair Split. And, oh yeah – the second anniversary party? We are following our eight year tradition...

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Peter Pan House

Posted by on Feb 17, 2021 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Peter Pan House

Peter Pan House Do you live in a Peter Pan house? For the past two centuries, we Americans have been building houses for people who will never grow old. Narrow hallways, narrow doorways, and stairs – lots of stairs!On the website aginginplace.com, Dr. Laura Carstensen, of the Stanford Center for Longevity lays out fifteen elements of the Peter Pan house. Some of these include:Multi-level houseWasher/dryer in the basementSloping yards24 inch doorwaysBathroom upstairsHigh outdoor maintenanceShe points out that these homes were designed by and for younger families and fail to consider the needs of the aging populations.https://aginginplace.com/peter-pan-house-15-elements/This month our partner Susan, who authors these blogs, completed her certification to become a NASMM@Home specialist. This education provided by our national association qualifies her to provide in-home consultations for those who want to stay at home in their senior years.For the past several years while attending national conference, Susan sought out the courses that addressed issues faced by seniors trying to age in place. So, this year with the extra time provided by the pandemic, she completed the education and is ready to go.So, what if you do want to grow old in your home? An AARP survey in 2018 found that, “while 76% of Americans age 50 and older say they prefer to remain in their current residence… [only 46%] anticipate they will be able to.” The reasons for this are because of the inherent hazards within their home.CLICK HERE to read full articleIn that article, seniors say they are willing to consider alternatives such as home sharing or building an accessory dwelling unit. You may have seen on social media some of the “granny pods” people have built in their backyards to accommodate an aging parent.Still, it is clear that the majority of us want to remain in our homes as long as possible. A  NASMM@Home specialist can help make that a reality.It all starts with a free consultation. By using a checklist of some of the obvious hazards, like unanchored throw rugs, the specialist can create a plan that allows the homeowner to choose the most practical and cost effective changes to make.Some are simple changes, and some go much further into providing healthcare solutions and technology touch points that allow for virtual caregiving.ROCK Health highlights eight reasons that aging in place technology will flourish in the near future. Not the least of these is “digital adoption accelerating due to COVID-19”. With more tech savvy seniors, the options for including these digital assistants in our homes have greatly expanded.CLICK HERE to read full articleAnd, some of the tried and true solutions that have been around for 30+ years as handicapped accommodations are also the easiest to help seniors stay at home. Outside stairs can be avoided by installing a safe ramp. Bedrooms on the second floor can be moved to the main level, or a chair lift installed. Innovations for bathroom walk-in tubs and zero threshold showers can also make the home safer.proper lighting and placement of everyday items where they are in convenient reach go a long way to make staying at home easier. Beyond that, remodeling to widen doorways and install suitable bathroom fixtures may be a reasonable cost as an option when compared to moving.To read more about how Golden Bridges can now help you or your loved one age in place, check out the NASMM@Home page HERE:And when you are ready for that free consultation, call 888-922-6368. It’s your move (or not), Golden Bridges can help! Susan Scholz, PartnerGolden...

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2020 Hindsight

Posted by on Jan 4, 2021 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 2020 Hindsight

Well, here we are, finally at the end of 2020. It’s been quite a year. Some comparisons I have heard include:Roller coaster rideLockdown lifeTrainwreckZoom festHell and back Whatever you have called it, “unprecedented” topped the list on dictionary.com. British slang uses the word omnishambles to describe 2020. For a grin, check out the rest at:https://www.dictionary.com/e/2020-describe-one-word/ What made 2020 so unprecedented? Of course, the pandemic tops the list. But there have been other issues of note that caused this year to be more stressful and more tragic than most any in our collective memories.https://www.visualcapitalist.com/year-review-2020-in-20-visualizations/ So what now? How will we make 2021 a better year? Many of us will make a new year’s resolution. And there is no shortage of suggestions on the internet. Good Housekeeping, In Style, Psychology Today, Reader’s Digest, and People magazine have all weighed in. My favorite was advice from In Style magazine that recommended you ask yourself this question about your resolution: “how will this resolution impact me five, 10, or 15 years from now?”https://www.instyle.com/lifestyle/new-years-resolutions-list What are the things that have made you unhappy in 2020? Will they continue to be a problem after the new year? Are there ways that you can change them, or change your attitude about how they are affecting you? What are the silver linings that you have experienced this year? We have all learned new (and better?) ways to communicate. Perhaps you used zoom for the first time in your life. Perhaps it became your lifeline to family friends and coworkers. This technology has been available for many years (teleconference calls began showing up in the late 50s and early 60s), but it took the pandemic to make us realize what a valuable tool it is. Now, I rarely go a week without more than one Zoom or Facebook call. This holiday season, it became the host for family gatherings as many of my family members live In areas affected by CoVid, not to mention that my home is located in a CoVid hot spot. Sure it is not the same, but so good to see their faces and hear their voices and to know that they are safe and healthy. Internet banking and bill pay has been available for at least the last 10 years, but did it take the closing of bank lobbies to encourage you to take advantage of that service? Telemedicine has seen an epic rise during the pandemic. Working from home has become the norm, rather than the exception. Schools have adopted remote learning strategies, sometimes providing online classes for all their students. This is not new technology either. When I was a 5th grader, we had a remote learner in my class. She was handicapped, and could not always come to the classroom. We had what we called a squawk box that allowed her to listen in and to reply when the teacher directed questions or comments to her. I am sure that technology has been used in some way during the interim since the 1970s, but it’s dominance in 2020 has possibly changed education forever. Was 2020 the year when you finally decided that talking with a counselor would be beneficial? They have been there for years… But have seen a spike in patients this year. This is a good thing. Whatever the year 2020 has brought you, we hope that you have had some moments of pure joy, an opportunity to count your blessings, and development of a positive attitude for 2021. As they say, hindsight is 20/20. And to quote my favorite Christmas song, ” may I suggest the secret of Christmas is not the things you do at Christmas...

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There Art Thou Happy

Posted by on Dec 1, 2020 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on There Art Thou Happy

There Art Thou Happy As a preteen growing up I shared a bedroom with my older sister, Lee Anne. She was a fan of Shakespeare. And when the Franco Zeffirelli movie was released, she immediately got the soundtrack and played it every night as we fell asleep. I got to know it well, and could recite most of the scenes by heart. One that especially stuck with me was one where Friar Lawrence admonishes Romeo for being despondent over his exile. The most memorable quote being, “there are thou happy”, repeated several times over in counting Romeo’s blessings of life, love, and breath.As I think about November being a time set aside for the giving of thanks, I encounter, hear of, or read about many people who feel they have nothing to be thankful for in 2020. But this is not true.If you are reading this blog:You have either survived or avoided coronavirus. There art thou happy.You have a device which is connected to the internet and access to Facebook or website. There are thou happy.Hopefully, you have a job or a regular income to maintain your lifestyle. There are thou happy.You can step outside at night and see the same moon and stars that your loved ones see, whether from the next town or a continent away. There art thou happy.In the beauty of nature and the love of animals, there art thou happy.The songs of birds and the frenzy of squirrels. The falling leaves and autumn sun. There art thou happy.In searching for 2020 gratitude lists, I came upon the following:https://www.antimaximalist.com/gratitude-list/https://bucketlistjourney.net/89-things-to-be-grateful-for/https://www.positivityblog.com/grateful-when-times-are-tough/One thing that I am thankful for are the many forms of communication and entertainment available to me. We have certainly learned in this year that even though our society has had access to incredibly abundant forms of communication for many years, we had been slow to adopt them until we really needed to. Virtual school, shopping, television and theatre, Grandpads and Zoom calls have become commonplace. It’s a new normal (overused phrase these days), and we are embracing them in record numbers.Even in this, the worst of the pandemic in our community, we are finding ways to celebrate new traditions. This Saturday the City of Quincy’s downtown District is setting up a Christmas Cruise for families to enjoy. Sixteen blocks of the downtown will feature lighted window displays (watch for the Golden Bridges display featuring repurposed lamp shades as unique Christmas trees). Santa, Mrs. Santa, and our beloved Buddy the Elf will wave at the cars going by their house on the square, and the Fire Station will be a stop for cookies and candy for the kids.There’s no question that this November – this Thanksgiving season is different. Whether sheltering in place or participating in a Zoom family meal, this Thanksgiving is still a time to think of family and tradition, or start a new “normal” for you and your family.Our partner, Nancy, taught her son how to bake her traditional butter rolls, and they filmed it for the rest of the family to enjoy.And Suzanne opened her home for a traditional Thanksgiving feast with both family and friends who would not be having their own family meal.Me, I got to spend some time with faraway family on a safe and sanitary social distancing trip to see my grandkids – and some pretty neat gingerbread houses.Perhaps you are busy this Thanksgiving weekend preparing a place for virtual learning for your student. Or planning to work from home for the rest of 2020. Many of you (I see on Facebook) have bucked tradition and have already...

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Saturday Sisters

Posted by on Oct 22, 2020 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Saturday Sisters

Saturday Sisters As the old saying goes, you can’t pick your sisters, but you can pick your… friends. Well, luckily I was born into a family of four girls. So I had built in sisters! Sure, we sometimes argued – over boys, clothes, or music. But we also bonded over boys, clothes… and music. Unfortunately they’re all living in the east now – Buffalo, NY and Fredericksburg, VA, and it’s tough to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee or glass of wine on a regular basis. So… I found a group of what I call my Saturday Sisters. It started with my sorority sister, Jill, when we were both in Weight Watchers a few years ago. After weighing in, we would treat ourselves by going to Panera for coffee and whatever. Usually we shared the egg white and caprese breakfast sandwich, which with black coffee was only four points apiece.Having been close during college, we had drifted apart while raising kids and launching careers. With that behind us, we were ready for some “sister time” and picked up right where we left off. And since we were having so much fun, we started expanding the group. If memory serves, Mary was next. Then GB partner Nancy, Sherry and Carla (who both live in Canton, thirty minutes away) would join us whenever they didn’t have other obligations. Partner Suzanne lives in Palmyra (also a 30 minute drive), but joins us when she can make an excuse to come to town. This year we’ve added Darlene and Angela, and invited Catherine. Pre-pandemic, we could count on the fact that Thursday or Friday one of the Saturday Sisters would send out the group text to decide which local restaurant we would visit on Saturday morning. During the initial COVID shutdown we were not able to get together. But when the weather warmed up, we had had enough of quarantine and started meeting on Jill’s breezeway, with proper precautions and social distancing. She supplied the coffee and we either brought our own breakfast or someone would treat the group. The food really doesn’t matter. Good coffee and good friends are the winning combination. On any given Saturday there might be ten or just two, but some part of the group gets together to mull over the week before or the week to come. To bolster each other or commiserate over the pandemic, the job, the kids, etc. We laugh, we eat, we drink coffee. We relax and we let go.According to www.cdc.gov, US adults reported“considerably elevated adverse mental health conditions associated with COVID-19.” Therefore, psychologists recommend reaching out to others as a strategy for maintaining your mental health and balance. In this article from Women’s Health Group, it makes the top five in “How to Support your Mental Health during CoVid-19”.CLICK HERE to read moreNow the Saturday Sisters include four more college girlfriends, my partners and a colleague from Golden Bridges, and a friend from the theatre. Recently I hosted the group on my open-air patio (see photo). My husband even cooked for the occasion. Excellent lemon-blueberry bread pudding and marinated orange slices. As usual, we laughed, we talked, and we drank coffee. As the days get shorter and the chill drives us off the breezeway we are searching for a safe meeting place for the winter. Too big a group to socially distance in a restaurant. Too cold blooded to suffer the cold temperatures. Maybe we will all have to chip in for a tent with a heater. Or maybe we will go the route of other sisters and opt for the safety of Zoom or other...

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