Pilgrim Manor Awarded COVID-19 Emergency Grants

GRAND RAPIDS [June 16, 2020] – Two local organizations have awarded COVID-19 emergency grants totaling $21,000 to Pilgrim Manor, a skilled nursing and assisted living community in Grand Rapids, to help cover increased costs of protecting residents and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pilgrim Manor senior living staff in Grand Rapids, Michigan, COVID-19 emergency grants
Pilgrim Manor staff members show their strength with the United Church Homes warriors flex. The staff has been working extra hard to provide care to residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hearts in Community

Through Heart of West Michigan United Way’s coronavirus response fund, Pilgrim Manor received $20,000 in funding to provide for basic needs for its residents in assisted living and skilled nursing. The grant is being used for food and medical supplies for a two-month period.

Pilgrim Manor provides assisted living, skilled nursing, rehab and respite care to 105 older individuals. It has been experiencing significant, ongoing financial pressure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While operating on the front line, Pilgrim Manor has increased expenses for food and personal protective equipment. With congregant dining prohibited, staff members deliver three meals a day to each resident in their apartments, instead of inviting residents to dine together. Residents are also less active while less active as they are physically distancing, so Pilgrim Manor’s dietitian is working to ensure they get enough nutritional calories. All these were factors in determining whether Pilgrim Manor would receive COVID-19 emergency grants.

“Safeguarding the mental and physical health of residents, staff and families has been — and will continue to be — our top priority,” Administrator Dave Henry said. “We’re the first line of defense from COVID-19 for more than 150 older adults who live in our community and for the 135 staff members who need workplace safety.”

Grand Rapids Rotarians Support New Virtual Visitor Guide Program

In addition to the United Way grant, Pilgrim Manor received a $1,000 emergency grant from the Rotary Club of Grand Rapids to support its new virtual visitor guide program.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention restricted visits to skilled nursing and assisted living communities on March 13 to reduce the risk of the novel coronavirus entering congregant living settings. United Church Homes, Pilgrim Manor’s parent organization, immediately hired a virtual visitor guide at each of its senior living communities.

Olivia Vanderhoff, who serves as virtual visitor guide, helps residents remain connected to loved ones while they can’t visit in person. In addition to scheduling visits, Vanderhoff provides essential technical support for residents using FaceTime, Skype or Google Duo for the first time.

“Our residents are so much happier than they would have been because they have remained connected to loved ones during these difficult past few months,” Henry said. “Launching this program was an important step to address one of the many challenges the pandemic imposes.”

To learn how you can support residents at Pilgrim Manor residents and staff, visit unitedchurchhomes.org/covid-19/.


Media Contacts: Alex Wilson, director of annual giving and special events, Pilgrim Manor Foundation, 616.940.5479 or awilson@uchinc.org; or Alissa Paolella, communications coordinator, United Church Homes, 740.382.4885 or apaolella@uchinc.org