M4A starts critical needs fund

By SCOTT MIMS / Staff Writer 

ALABASTER — The most vulnerable people among us deserve extra attention during the COVID-19 crisis. In response to this need, the Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging (M4A) has launched a “Critical Needs” fund that aims to create a safety net for vulnerable individuals, including those who are homebound.

Anyone who makes a charitable donation to the fund will directly impact people in need throughout Shelby, Blount, Chilton, St. Clair and Walker counties.

M4A Executive Director Carolyn Fortner said when the crisis started, agency members immediately started thinking about grandparents.

“We heard from grandparents who are babysitting, and also grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. It’s been difficult not having the school system there. It’s an additional responsibility for them,” Fortner said.

The Critical Needs campaign will allow M4A to supply food, toilet paper, paper products, soap, laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid, hand sanitizer, toothpaste and other high-demand items over the coming weeks and months.

According to the agency, nearly 90 percent of adults age 65 and older desire to age-in-place within their own home for as long as possible. Oftentimes, however, the needs encountered exceed the availability of resources to meet those needs. These needs include not only the aforementioned items but also rent, utilities, food, medication, in-home support and emergency home modifications.

M4A provides services not only to older adults but also to individuals of all ages with disabilities, as well as caregivers.

“M4A is challenging our partners, leaders and local community members to do their part in helping our clients remain independent and improving their overall quality of life,” Fortner said. “With your help and donation efforts, we can all make a difference in our communities.”

Since March 17, M4A offices are closed to the public but those who call or email should not notice a change in services. Anyone in need is directed to call the Aging and Disability Resource Center at 1-800-AGELINE or 1-800-243-5463.

To donate, visit M4a.org/donate or mail a check to: M4A Critical Needs Fund, 209 Cloverdale Circle, Alabaster, AL 35007.

“As so many have said over the last several days, please remember to check on your neighbors, wash your hands frequently, and practice social distancing,” Fortner said.