With a mission of providing the free loan of medical equipment to those who are elderly, ill, or recovering from injury, the Convalescent Aid Society (CAS) supports the health and safety of numerous Pasadena residents. Nearly 70% of the 3,533 individuals that CAS serves are over the age of 65; 100% are mobility impaired, and a large portion report underlying health issues. Because its vulnerable clientele is at great risk of developing and dying from COVID-19, the pandemic created a serious logistical challenge for the organization as it was unable to allow clients inside. Moreover, CAS staff is trained in providing compassionate care and personal service, and seeing their elderly clientele struggle to collect necessary items also created a difficult emotional challenge.
A Perfect Staging Area
In October, 2020, Pasadena Community Foundation awarded a COVID-19 Response Fund grant to CAS for the purchase and installation of a permanent patio canopy structure. The canopy now allows staff to distribute equipment and collect donated pieces entirely curbside. In the two months since it has been installed, the canopy has revitalized CAS’s services, providing a shaded area for clients and caregivers waiting for equipment during heat, as well as a dry, covered area during inclement winter weather. Staff can comfortably and safely stage and then load equipment into waiting vehicles or use the space during quieter hours to repair and sanitize equipment as needed. Perhaps most important, CAS staff can once again engage compassionately with borrowers in person, albeit from the safety of their vehicles.
CAS Chief Executive Director Mark Waterson appreciates the flexibility of the awning, noting “When life returns to ‘normal,’ this awning will continue to be beneficial because our mobility-challenged clients will not need to enter our main office for service, meaning that the viability of this grant will be impactful for years to come. I smile every time I walk outside our building and look up!”