Loneliness and isolation are epidemics according to the United States Surgeon General. An effort is underway to address the problems locally.
The St. Charles Health System is accepting applications for grants aimed at reducing loneliness and increasing welcoming and belonging.
For the next three years, St. Charles will direct thousands in grant funding to community organizations to target loneliness and isolation, aimed specifically at organizations that create opportunities for communities to connect in person, with a focus on older adults and youth.
“We are trying to help people find that sense of belonging again by helping organizations that create spaces where people feel welcome,” said Carlos Salcedo, St. Charles community partnerships manager.
St. Charles officials say loneliness and depression are root causes of a number of health problems and societal problems that were aggravated by the COVID pandemic.
“You might think someone is just sad and lonely but it is having an impact on their physical and emotional health as well,” said Emma Fried-Cassorla, Central Oregon Council on Aging Communications Manager.
Projects that will be considered for funding must have multiple opportunities for the community to engage in events such as:
- movie night series
- pick-up sporting events
- book clubs
- cooking classes
- monthly community meals
“You can come to something like the lunch we are having, the tropical paradise party on Wednesday, August 23. (11 a.m. – 2 p.m, at the Council on Aging Senior Services Center, 1036 NE 5th Street, Bend, 97701) Coming to community dining, just so you can be around people, can be great,” Fried-Cassorla said.
“We close the grant cycle by the end of September and we will have a decision out to those organizations that applied by the end of October,” Salcedo said.
Click here for a link to the grant application.