BETHLEHEM, Pa. - During times of COVID-19 a simple knock on the door and face to face can be a respite for many senior citizens.
"Here's a little goody bag because we miss you," Paula Johnson said to one of the 45 seniors she delivered to.
"A lot of times in general they suffer from isolation, mental illness. We discovered 6 years ago, especially in this community, the low-income community, that seniors are really suffering from that," Johnson said.
Which is why Johnson, the executive director of the Northeast Community Center, and volunteers embraced the rain for a drive-by senior luncheon at Bethlehem's Marvine Pembroke Housing Development.
"Means a lot. I can't stop thinking about what they are doing, really nice, doing this," said 60-year-old Luz Vargas after receiving a meal.
The drive-by is in lieu of the in-person monthly senior luncheon held at the center. Due to the coronavirus it hasn't happened since February. Vargas says the gatherings are a much-needed social lifeline.
"We play bingo and talk between one another," she said.
The pandemic has canceled the center's summer camps for kids and sent a record number to its food pantry but hasn't curbed the center's overall mission of service.