In her Last Will and Testament, Emma P. Pelton of Cheshire, Connecticut established the John P. and Cora E. Phelps Fund at The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven in memory of her grandfather and mother to “benefit … elderly people who are residents of the Town of Hamden.” Since the fund was established over forty years ago, more than 65 grants have been made to eight organizations serving Hamden’s older adults.
The majority of grants from this preference fund have been made to VNA Community Health, in support of the Phelps Community Project. The Project is a resource for the elderly of Hamden with very limited income and who need short term support when their daily life is compromised because of physical, financial or emotional concerns. The goal of the Project is to help Hamden seniors with limited resources remain at home as long as possible and to enhance the individual's independent functioning and quality of life.
In one situation, a widower in his 70s with no family was provided with a recliner in his final months when resting in bed was no longer comfortable due to pulmonary disease.
Another Hamden resident with diabetes could not maintain an adequate diet on his limited income. He was given a monthly supplement to buy fruits and vegetables to control his blood sugar.
During the last particularly cold winter, the Program Coordinators at the Hamden Elderly Services Senior Lunch program noticed a gentleman coming in each day for a low-cost meal without a coat. In speaking with him, they determined that he did not have the resources to buy a coat, and still maintain his housing and medications. They approached the Project which supplied the funds to buy the man a new, warm jacket (pictured left).
Seniors who connect with the Phelps Community Project receive:
- information and referrals to appropriate community agencies;
- advocacy if needed in finding successful solutions to their problems;
- short term financial assistance in emergency situations and help to be prepared for future situations;
- telephone reassurance, supportive home visits and needs assessments;
- advocacy for independent living as safely feasible.
Perhaps most importantly, they get immediate response without a lot of red tape, and help tailored to their individual needs, without a loss of dignity.