The Coast News Group
Kelly Davis, recreation therapist at Gary and Mary West PACE, receives donations of essential items for the nonprofit’s first-ever Everyday Necessities Drive for North County Seniors. The drive-up event is Dec. 22 at the West PACE Center in San Marcos. Courtesy photo
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West PACE drive-up event Dec. 22 to collect necessities for North County seniors

San Diego County’s stay-at-home orders have created a challenge for North County seniors and their family caregivers when it comes to shopping for basic necessities. That’s why the team at the nonprofit Gary and Mary West PACE is encouraging San Diego County businesses, community groups, and individuals to donate new and unused toiletries, games, puzzles, socks, masks, and other care items to the first-ever “Everyday Necessities Drive for North County Seniors.”

Organizers are hosting a drive-up collection event on Tuesday, Dec. 22 from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. in the parking lot of the West PACE Center located at 1706 Descanso Avenue in San Marcos. All donors who drive-in to drop-off items at West PACE will receive a coffee and a holiday treat.

“Seniors often make difficult decisions between buying food or personal care items,” says Rena Smith, executive director, West PACE. “Since Southern California is in a stay-at-home order and there is a significantly reduced capacity at retail stores, it will be difficult for seniors and family caregivers to shop for the essentials, items that we take for granted everyday.”

At the Tuesday, Dec. 22 drive-thru collection event, North County residents can make a difference without even leaving their car. Organizers have a goal to collect hundreds of items to create 200 bundles to gift to vulnerable North County seniors with chronic care needs who rely on West PACE for high-quality, comprehensive, and coordinated healthcare, social services which help them successfully age in place rather than in a nursing home.

Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly, or PACE, is a model of person-centered care that has been shown to reduce rates of emergency room visits, unnecessary hospital admissions, long-term nursing home placements, and reduce the cost of care and the strain on family caregivers. Over 90% of PACE participants are able to successfully remain in their homes and communities, many live longer, are more socially engaged and have a better quality of life than those in nursing homes or other institutional settings.

Local companies and groups have already come on board to support the inaugural Everyday Necessities Drive for North County Seniors hosted by nonprofit West PACE: San Diego North Economic Development Council, West Health, Devore Realty Group, and Qualicare San Diego. Organizers have also set up a GoFundMe page to collect financial donations for those in the community who are not able to make it to the West PACE center but are interested in supporting the holiday drive efforts.

Donations are accepted through Dec. 31, 2020. Event organizers will observe COVID-safe protocols and social distancing. Participants are asked to wear a face covering when dropping off donations.

Learn more about this year’s “Everyday Necessities Drive for North County Seniors” at westpace.org or call Mary Jurgensen at 760-280-2230. The website includes a complete wish list and a link to their GoFundMe page.

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