6:34am

Sun December 18, 2011
Community

Catholic Charities Of Weld Offers Help For Seniors

At 77 years old, Loretta Shaklee of Greeley found herself in a position she wasn’t quite used to. She needed help. And she needed it quick.

Shaklee’s husband died four years ago. Between trying to pay off his medical bills and her own bills, she lost their house. She moved into an apartment but the rent was raised, and she struggled to afford it along with her $400 monthly prescriptions and costly, weekly doctor visits for her heart condition. Someone mentioned to her that she should call Catholic Charities of Weld County. So, without knowing what to expect, she did.

“And boy they were there in a heartbeat,” Shaklee said.

Catholic Charities of Weld County provides many services including the Guadalupe Shelter, emergency assistance and a safe and stable families program. It is also one of eight agencies receiving help from the Northern Colorado Empty Stocking Fund, which provides resources for local human service agencies dedicated to helping community members struggling to meet basic needs.

One of its branches of service offers help for seniors.

“It can be anything from helping a client fill out an application for LEAP (Low-Income Energy Assistance Program) or more extensive case management,” said senior service coordinator Connie Hermann, who has about 65 clients.

Or as Shaklee puts it, they cover her life.

“If I need anything I call Connie, and she’s there,” Shaklee said. “Without them, I couldn’t have survived this month.”

Shaklee’s expenses were further complicated this month when she got pneumonia. Catholic Charities helped her pay this month’s rent to keep her from being evicted and helped her pick out a cheaper prescription drug plan. Hermann also encouraged her to move into subsidized housing.

“It just takes a lift off of you,” Shaklee said. “I have nothing but good to say about them. I think the Catholic Charities is a wonderful, wonderful organization and some day when I win the Lotto I’m going to give them lots of money.”

She said Hermann is her angel. And Hermann thinks a lot of her, too.

“I just really, really enjoy being around seniors and, of course, Loretta is a special lady,” Hermann said.

“It’s a really good fit for me as far as my job goes. I’m around people I really enjoy being around.”

Meagan Birely wrote this story on behalf of the Northern Colorado Empty Stocking Fund.

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To donate to the Northern Colorado Empty Stocking Fund, please go to the NCESF website at www.nocoemptystocking.org, mail contributions to P.O. Box 588, Fort Collins, CO 80522 or P.O. Box 534, Greeley, CO 80632, or to donate immediately and securely, click the donation button below:

About the fund:
Since its founding in 2007, the Northern Colorado Empty Stocking Fund has raised over $333,000 to support health and human service agencies in Larimer and Weld County. With matching funds provided by El Pomar Foundation, every dollar grows by 33 percent. United Ways of Larimer and Weld County cover all administrative costs for the campaign, meaning every dollar donated goes directly to the recipient organizations. This year’s recipient agencies include: Catholic Charities of Larimer County, Catholic Charities of Weld County, Connections for Independent Living, Crossroads Ministry of Estes Park, Food Bank of Larimer County, Greeley Transitional House, House of Neighborly Service, and Weld Food Bank. For more information, please visit www.nocoemptystocking.org