Community organization reinvents itself once again

After six weeks apart, phone calls were not enough to alleviate the sadness and loneliness of elderly participants in the programs of Centro Ramón Frade in Cayey.

Abrazo en la Distancia (Hug from a Distance) was the center’s response to the need of 98 older adults to feel supported and cherished. “We were unable to visit them, but the team organized a collection and hired a van with music and a loudspeaker, we made posters to let them know how important they are to us and we went to their houses so that they would see us out in the street. There wasn’t a dry eye, as you can you imagine… They are very lonely, and the quarantine has made it worse”, says Angeliz Rodríguez, executive director of the center that serves Cayey and nearby areas.

With 50 years of uninterrupted operations, this is not the first time that the Centro Ramón Frade has had to reinvent itself to continue its mission of offering food and a place to socialize for its participants. They did it after Hurricane Maria, but the Covid-19 crisis has made the social part an uphill struggle.

Angeliz says that they are doing deliveries for the meal service and addressing the social aspect by coordinating phone calls between participants. Along with meals and groceries, they are delivering entertainment materials like word games and others. She explained that the $10,000 donated by Fundación Triple-S will help the center in continuing to look for ways to adapt to this new reality.

“Our support of Centro Ramón Frade shows Fundación Triple-S’s interest in collaborating with non-profit organizations of all sizes. This center works with food security and social cohesion, two social factors with a significant impact on people’s health. Our foundation has also chosen those social determinants as the focus of our work. In the past, we donated the vehicle for their food delivery and social worker visits, and now we continue supporting them during this crisis”, expressed Ivelisse Fernández, executive director of Fundación Triple-S.

She stated that as part of the response to the food and social cohesion crisis made worse by the Covid-19 emergency, Fundación Triple-S recently distributed $250,000 among several organizations. Centro Ramón Frade now joins World Central Kitchen, the Puerto Rico Food Bank, Iniciativa Comunitaria and Albergue El Paraíso. Each of these organizations works to achieve food security for Puerto Ricans from a different perspective. “Through World Central Kitchen we support local food producers, while the Food Bank, Iniciativa Comunitaria and Albergue El Paraíso tackles food insecurity resulting from a loss of income”, she summarized.