Betty Garrett isn't only vice president of the Village Connections board of directors; she's also a member.

On April 1, volunteer Pam Albrecht and Don Wiggins, executive director for the German Village-based nonprofit, dropped off two bags of groceries to Garrett's Thurman Avenue house -- all the while honoring safe-distancing practices in the age of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

"I think we're in a time we've never expected," Garrett said. "It's fine when you run out of things and somebody can bring them to you and you don't have to go out."

Village Connections was founded six years ago to assist the area's aging population with light duties and transportation and to provide a social outlet for people who otherwise don't get out often.

Wiggins said there are 224 members, with 56 receiving regular services. Members range from early 50s to late 90s.

The coronavirus has hit the senior population particularly hard, so social distancing and no-contact shelter are critical for those who seek it, Wiggins said.

"Doctor appointments are being canceled or moved unless they're critical," he said. "We're still doing grocery shopping for folks, actually picking up more than we used to because they're feeling safer not being out in crowds."

He said he and volunteers are reaching out to those in seclusion at least once a week, sometimes more, and encourages others in the neighborhood to do the same.

"We know within the membership who is most vulnerable," Wiggins said. "We know those who don't have children or their kids are so far away. ... Those are the ones we call twice a week."

Wiggins said he wants seniors to take advantage of the nice weather, even though warm days have been limited in recent weeks, and walk down the street and wave to neighbors and friends.

"Nobody's through the winter doldrums yet," he said.

With the statewide restrictions on restaurants -- carryout and delivery services only -- and stipulations on the number of people who may gather in public, Village Connections can't offer its routine itinerary of social events, which include brunch, luncheon and a social hour three times a month, Wiggins said.

The organization's leadership is planning for when the COVID-19 crisis is over, he said. Village Connections recently sent a survey to members asking them what other kinds of activities they'd like to see, he said.

He said updates regularly would be posted on the group's website, villageconnectionscolumbus.org.

Albrecht, also a board member, spends most of her volunteer time with transportation. The grocery delivery is a great way to stay in touch with senior members, she said.

"We're just still trying to keep them socially involved by bringing them groceries and seeing them," Albrecht said.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary