EAST ORANGE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Some government agencies are changing the way they’re helping senior citizens during the coronavirus outbreak.

As the COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold, the doors at the senior center in East Orange, New Jersey, remain closed, but the efforts to take care of its members are still taking place.

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Right now, workers are delivering food to roughly 250 seniors each day. They’re even taking some of them to doctor’s appointments.


They’re helping people like 69-year-old Fred Sly and his wife, Laverne.

“They knock on your door. They wave to you,” Fred Sly told CBS2’s Cory James.

He says the services are extremely beneficial for his bride of 26 years. She battles a lifelong autoimmune disease.

“She suffers from lupus and she has neuritis optic nerve, and it helps her when she doesn’t have to prepare meals sometimes because the meals are already prepared for us,” he said.

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In addition to that, he tells CBS2 a bus picks them up and takes them grocery shopping during senior hours — brief moments that bring light to a dark time.

“Like today, when I got picked up, I saw some of the people I haven’t seen in a while because of the fact that, the distancing thing,” Fred Sly said. “So a lot of us haven’t seen each other in at least a month when we used to see each other every day.”

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ Health Dept. | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211

Mayor Ted Green says having the 30-year-old senior program in place has assisted with this unprecedented crisis.

“Thus far we have called over 2,500 seniors already just to check on them, that’s the wellness call, and people are very happy about that,” Green said.

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Simple acts that show it is not just people helping people, but local government agencies are stepping in, too.