Start with one drop in the bucket, pass it on to another bucket, and then cook and feed.
That’s the idea behind providing a needed boost around the community by helping restaurants and needy seniors during the pandemic.
Support a Senior, Rescue a Restaurant started in January with an initial $500 donation by Giving Group Realty in Vancouver to the nonprofit Northwest Wine & Food Society, which in turn purchased gift cards from small local restaurants. Those gift cards were then given to CDM Caregiving Services of Vancouver, another nonprofit, to pay for special meals for seniors in need.
“Our first delivery was at the beginning of February, and it was phenomenal,” said Lisa Capeloto, the development director at CDM Caregiving. “Our clients were overjoyed by the outreach.”
Tesha Perry, team leader at Giving Group Realty, and team member Alicia Buehler came up with the idea after talking about ways they could serve the community.
“What’s the pebble we could throw into the pond to cause a ripple effect to serve our greater good?” Perry said. “What could we do to add a little joy?”
Already, Giving Group Realty gives 10 percent of its commission after closing to charity at the direction of its clients. Perry said that since starting the donations in August 2019, the average charitable gift has been $762 on each sale.
They knew restaurants were hurting due to COVID-19, and they knew how seniors are underserved. So they approached Russell Brent, who they knew from Mill Creek Pub in Battle Ground. He put them in touch with CDM, and they talked the plan through.
“We decided if we could donate a small amount, like $500 maybe, to get it started, what would that look like?” Perry said. “We just felt seniors were really shut in not able to leave homes, very afraid of COVID and rightfully so. Just to have something different delivered to home. A pizza or something from Paris.”
C’est La Vie, a French cafe in Hazel Dell, provided those first 20 meals with a $250 gift card. Those meals were picked up by CDM Caregiving volunteers and distributed to seniors.
La Sorrentina, a pizzeria in Fisher’s Landing, was the next pickup point for this program, also providing 20 meals. The $250 gift is providing 16 meals, and another $100 was donated by a La Sorrentina customer to make it 20.
Brent, a board member for the Northwest Wine & Food Society, said the restaurants chosen are affiliated with the NWFS. These two in particular are small and independently owned.
“They are passionate and make great food,” he said. “I’m always looking for a triple-win, and this is a great one, I think.”
Capeloto said 30 of CDM Caregiving’s clients received the special hot meals.
“They are being positively impacted through this warm, loving, nutritious meal,” Capeloto said. “A good portion (of clients) still utilize Meals On Wheels and will get their food that way. But this is just a little bit different, a little bit more loving.”
CDM Caregiving is Southwest Washington’s oldest and largest in-home care agency for the elderly and disabled of all ages who need care. Delivering special meals is just another way they can help.
“We have many clients who need and deserve a nice, warm meal,” Capeloto said. “I’m feeling positive about the number of clients we are able to impact, for really, just $500. It’s a good number of people.”
The cycle will continue with each additional $500 raised. Donations can be made online through cdmcaregiving.org or its address is 2300 N.E. Andresen Road, Vancouver, WA, 98661.
“It just fills my heart with joy to see this idea take hold,” Perry said.