Inside LBFE

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Reopening LBFE Offices

After nearly three months, Little Brothers cautiously welcomed back staff to 355 N. Ashland Avenue on June 15.

CEO Simone Mitchell-Peterson worked with a small internal team, beginning in May, to develop a comprehensive Welcome Forward Plan that included new staff guidelines for face coverings and social distancing, and detailed instructions on how to navigate the building, conduct daily business, maintain a hygienic workplace, and more. Staff is divided into two teams, which alternate weeks working in the office or from home.

“Our office environment is drastically different, and we’re all continuing to adjust to modifications. It’s not the same, but our goal is to keep our staff and their families safe,” says Mitchell-Peterson.

Volunteers are picking up items for contactless deliveries from the courtyard, and we hope to expand this process to other programs. “Any decisions to bring elders to the building or to begin other familiar activities will need more definitive information to make the best decisions that ensure the safety of our elders, who are a vulnerable population.”

Required at LBFE: Temperature checks and face coverings for all staff.

Planning Holiday Joy For Our Elders

Year after year, Little Brothers ensures our elders know they are loved and remembered on Thanksgiving and Christmas Days—and this year will be no different.

“We’re making careful plans to ensure our elders do not feel alone or forgotten. We’ll celebrate safely, with contactless drop offs, on both Thanksgiving and Christmas Days,” says Ann Wohlberg, Director of Program.

“We’ll need help from our volunteers to make more deliveries this year than for any holiday season ever before,” says Josh Chartier, Director of Volunteer Services & Community Engagement.

Want to bring joy to an elder this holiday season? Sign up to volunteer.

Photo from 2019.

Partnerships Help Stock Pantry Shelves

Throughout the year, our friends at Old St. Patrick’s Church are a caring community for our elders.

For the past 20 years, parishioner Joe Harzich has organized spring and fall food drives to benefit Little Brothers’ food pantry and more than 120 elders served by LBFE’s monthly Food Bag Program.

This spring’s drive couldn’t take place in-person because of the pandemic, but Harzich and Old St. Pat’s worked closely with LBFE food pantry coordinator John Silver to ensure elders would continue to be well-supplied with much-needed pantry staples and fresh groceries.

Silver organized a virtual food drive via Amazon that’s been a huge success for Little Brothers—thanks to the support of Old St. Pat’s parishioners. Together, they ordered 150 boxes of food, including tuna, peanut butter, jelly, soups, applesauce, crackers, and granola bars— items our elders are most excited to receive during contactless drop-offs. “We also received lots of Ensure, which is an expensive part of our monthly food budget. This meant we had more money to spend on other items, such as fresh groceries and proteins,” Silver explains.

In addition to Old St. Pat’s, Little Brothers is extremely grateful to Google, Pathstone Partners, Arbor Centers for Eyecare, and Schneider National for their support of our virtual food drive.

Our Volunteer Program Assistant prepares Food Bags.

LBFE Launches Mental Health Counseling Initiative

Little Brothers strives to meet our elders where they are, which is how our new Mental Health Counseling Initiative began.

“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve anticipated our elders’ changing physical needs. But we also knew that supporting our elders’ mental health and wellness would be just as crucial,” says CEO Simone Mitchell-Peterson.

LBFE Program staff has been trained to use a tool for non-mental health professionals to screen at least 500 seniors who likely are at higher risk for anxiety and depression. Some elders can be helped within Little Brothers, while others will receive telephone counseling sessions or long-term follow-up with one of LBFE’s three organizational partners, including Rush University Medical Center. To learn more, call 312-455-1000.