Senior services nonprofit Avenidas announced on Wednesday that it is halting and scaling back several programs offered through its two enrichment centers in Palo Alto and its adult day health care center in Mountain View as the organization pivots to a new virtual and contactless service model.
The nonprofit will no longer provide seniors assistance with minor home repairs through its Handyman Services program and has scaled back its door-to-door transportation service. The Redwood Cafe at its newly renovated center on Bryant Street in downtown Palo Alto and the Avenidas Blooms volunteer group that distributes floral arrangements to the sick and elderly also are among the programs that have been cut. Senior day care programs at Avenidas Rose Kleiner Center in Mountain View and the Senior Planet@Avenidas tech center in Palo Alto also will scale back operations, according to a June 24 press release.
The organization also announced that it is laying off seven of its 53 employees.
"Due to COVID-19, our operations drastically changed, and this new reality is likely to continue for the foreseeable future, causing us to take on these belt-tightening changes," Avenidas CEO and President Amy Andonian stated in the press release.
"Although our buildings have been and will remain closed for an unknown amount of time, we are delivering as many existing and new services and programs as we possibly can ... to meet the new needs of our vulnerable senior population," she added.
Andonian said Avenidas staff members will continue to work remotely Monday through Friday to help seniors, their families and caregivers as everyone navigates the health crisis.
Since the shutdown, the organization has pivoted from providing on-site and in-person services to delivering groceries, supplies and medicine to those in need, fielding a hotline and calling seniors to check in with them as needed. The group also has transitioned many on-site classes to Zoom and has launched virtual support groups.
At the Rose Kleiner site in Mountain View, Director Kristina Lugo said staff is managing participants' health through phone calls and physically distanced visits.
"Even in the face of these challenging times, we can see this as an opportunity to innovate in new ways to reach an even bigger and more diverse senior population with our 'Avenidas Without Walls' strategic initiative," Andonian said.
Founded in 1969, Avenidas has operated classes, enrichment programs and outreach services for local seniors in the community for more than five decades. The organization completed a major renovation of its Bryant Street location in April 2019 that doubled its downtown space and led to the opening of a second campus at Cubberley Community Center, which initially opened as its headquarters for 18 months during the construction, but continued to offer programs long term.
For more information about Avenidas, visit avenidas.org.
Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.