BENNINGTON -- Emeritus at Fillmore Pond Dining Services Director Rob Kennison makes gourmet food for residents on a daily basis. During the months of April and May, he is setting aside a couple of meals to be brought to seniors in the community on a home visit.
At its more than 500 communities nationwide, Emeritus made a goal to bring nutritious meals and conversation to individuals who live outside of its senior living communities. Staff take pictures of the meals and use social media to compete with the other locations with presentation and the number of meals they carry out.
Fillmore Pond Community Relations Director Jennifer Hill took a chicken wrap and hot New England clam chowder across town on Friday to the home of Bob Botto.
Botto is a retired plumber and widower who has lived in Bennington for 25 years. His family is spread out across the east coast.
"(Bob's) daughter had inquired because she doesn't live locally," said Hill. "She was worried about him: That he was lonely. She reached out to me during another campaign, and since then we have built a great relationship. He loves the social interaction and his family is so grateful."
Botto said the home visit he had during one of the previous meal campaigns was unexpected, and enjoys any time Hill takes to come visit him. "The company at Fillmore Pond seems to be one that gives without looking for something in return," he said.
Since Hill's initial visit, Botto since visits Emeritus for craft activities with the residents and to visit Hill. Botto put his home on the housing market in March. He is considering going into independent living or assisted living at Emeritus after he sells his house. "I'm looking forward to that because basically I am alone. I have an eight-room home and there is nothing here any longer. It's getting to be too much for me to handle at my age. I am starting to slow down, but the mind is young."
Most of the individuals that have received meals are called in by non-local families who want to bring their elderly family member some company. Anyone in town who knows of seniors who might live alone or could use the meal is welcome to call Emeritus between now and the end of May, and Hill will bring them food and someone to talk to. Emeritus at Fillmore Pond can be reached at (802) 447-7000.
"As far as I am concerned, Fillmore Pond would be the crown jewel in the hat that Bennington wears," Botto said. "If they (didn't do things like this), certain people wouldn't even realize they are there. It's a good thing to know that you have somebody in town that cares. They don't ask a thing of anybody."
Contact Tom Momberg at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @TomMomberg