GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Across the nation, elders are being honored during May’s “Older Americans Month.” As the pandemic sweeps through the world and the Gulf Coast— with an outsize impact on those elders— county leaders are going above and beyond to make sure those seniors feel honored this month.
Because the community center is closed due to COVID-19, Harrison County Senior Resources Agency executive director Eunice Hollingsworth and her team are doing everything they can for the county’s most at-risk population. “We have been giving our seniors shelf-stable meals. These are pre-packaged meals packaged five in a box so we could meet their nutritional needs, since we can’t meet their social needs," said Hollingsworth.
With the annual celebration of Older Americans Month, Hollingsworth wanted to do a little something extra.
“We decided today, along with picking up their shelf-stable meals, that we would give them a little happy celebration gift bag. So, in the gift bags, along with some ‘happys,’ we also have a flyer about Older Americans Month to let them know that we didn’t forget to celebrate them and to let them know how much we appreciate them," Hollingsworth said.
Every May has always been an exciting time for the members of this community center. Hollingsworth said that this bonus gift has helped the seniors see the light at the end of a very dark tunnel. “When they see something to kind of remind them of the way it was, and how it will be again, it’s been real positive. We’ve been getting lots of positive comments," Hollingsworth told WLOX.
Each year, the President signs a proclamation declaring the month of May as Older Americans Month. When President John Kennedy signed the first proclamation for Older American’s Month in 1963, only 17 million American’s were aged 65 or older. President Trump’s annual proclamation designating May as Older Americans Month was signed on April 30th and called for all Americans to honor our elders, acknowledge their contributions and care for those in need.