In an effort to support dependent seniors through the pandemic, the nonprofit Community Partners in Caring continues working to recruit and match volunteers with older adults who do not drive.

A number of individuals and agencies pivoted for distanced care shortly after California’s shelter-in-place order was given, but emergency funding for some programs is exhausted, and more and more older adults are coming forward. The need for more volunteers has grown urgent.

“The number of dependent seniors enrolled in our program is reaching 900. That’s more than double the number that were enrolled just four months ago,” said Vilma Contreras, executive director at the Community Partners in Caring.

“Homebound dependent seniors have always faced challenges to sustain daily living,” Contreras said. “The pandemic has exacerbated those challenges. Soon the season will also have a toll, and we want the elderly to see they count, and that the community cares.”

Older seniors need help with simple everyday tasks. Community Partners in Caring volunteers deliver free food from Santa Barbara Food Bank, and pick-up/deliver prescriptions. They help enroll seniors into long-term programs/services that will help them through the pandemic and beyond.

Some volunteers provide rides to medical appointments, and many make friendly calls to help break up the day and reduce the isolation seniors are experiencing. In some cases, individuals can volunteer from their couch at home.

“Our dedicated volunteers help the elderly in a variety of ways, but the pandemic has brought hundreds more to our agency, all seeking support to access basic needs, such as food and medical care,” Contreras said.

Beginning in October, there will be more deliveries to be accomplished than those currently onboard in the South County have attempted. As of two weeks ago, about 35 volunteers are needed in Santa Barbara/Goleta; 30 in Santa Maria/Orcutt; and 25 in Lompoc Valley.

Volunteers must be over the age of 20 and pass a local/national background check. For more information, call 805-925-8000.

Community Partners in Caring, established in 1997, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to provide volunteer support services that allow the local senior population to live independently while maintaining dignity, respect, and quality of life. For more information, visit