Santa Maria, CA. “Everything starts with the motivation to care,” said Chuen Ng, Community Partners in Caring’s Board President. “This motivation to care has led us through many aspects of life, and it leads us to today, as the Area Agency on Aging (AAA) awards Community Partners in Caring with the Senior Program of the Year Award in recognition of the contributions the agency has made throughout the community.”
Every year, in honor of Older Americans Day, AAA holds a celebration, this year the theme is “Communities of Strength.” Community Partners in Caring, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization, has served Santa Barbara County mobility limited seniors since 1997. The agency recruits, screens, and matches volunteers with mobility limited seniors and provides an array of services that support daily living. This includes free rides to meet health/wellness needs, grocery delivery, assistance with shopping/errands, friendly visits, yard work, and reassurance calls.
During the pandemic, organizations have had to stay flexible and adapt to the constant changes brought with each passing day. Many had to take a pause on their services in order to do so; however, Community Partners in Caring not only remained open, the agency succeeded in shifting gears merely hours after the shelter in place order had been released, launching a volunteer recruitment campaign and moving towards no-contact services such as delivery of free food, groceries and essentials as well as safety check in calls. The organization developed working relationships with farmers, private businesses, transportation companies, and other non-profit organizations in order to deliver free support that included safe rides to medically necessary appointments. “We knew we would be needed, so, we shifted gears,” said Vilma Contreras, Community Partners in Caring’s Executive Director, “and thanks to volunteers, funders, new partnerships, and the flexibility of staff, we stayed open and continued to serve.”
These services continue as we, as a community, begin the long process of exiting the last fourteen months of the pandemic, and will continue with the same level of care and compassion maintained throughout all of Community Partners in Caring’s work, but especially witnessed in the pandemic. “It’s an honor and a privilege to serve the community….it is our duty to provide for [seniors] .” Ng affirms, also noting that this duty is one filled with genuine love and concern for the senior population, something he has always seen in the eyes of the volunteers and staff.
An organization is built by the people within it, the volunteers, the staff — without their leadership and initiative none of this would be possible. It all begins with them, and, of course, their motivation to care.
Community Partners in Caring is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to providing volunteer support services for Santa Barbara County’s seniors in need to live independently while maintaining dignity, respect, and quality of life. Established in 1997, it serves as a critical support system for elder orphans who cannot access fee-based support services, for caregivers needing assistance in supporting a loved one, and for seniors struggling to maintain their independence after losing their driving privilege. For more information, visit
www.partnersincaring.org or their Facebook page @PartnersInCaring