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Community COVID-19 Shine On

Couple steps up to help vulnerable population

Chris Lewis and Lauralee Pentz wanted to help the vulnerable in the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

So they did.

Lewis is a business consultant and a business teacher; his wife, Pentz owns and operates The New Glasgow Foot Clinic so has access to medical supplies. They are both active participants in the business community, so they combined their knowledge, skills and their passion for helping others.

The result: comfort bags to help the vulnerable in our community.

Posting in the Helping During Coronavirus Pictou County Facebook page Lewis said, “We are spending our days making hand sanitizer care packages for clients and elderly. A large portion of our clients are in need and said they don’t have access to hand sanitizer. We are making sure they leave our care with sanitizer.”

Chatting by phone Lewis said, “Since we are both home now we got thinking, ‘How am I going to give back to the community?’”

Pentz said, “Over the past few weeks, I have had clients voice their concerns regarding the recent world health situation. Many of my clients meet the high risk categories with the virus.”

Lewis said the foot clinic clients were commenting that they were having trouble finding hand sanitizer, even before the crisis began. “We noticed a vulnerable population saying they couldn’t get access to a product. So once the pandemic hit, we realized these are people who really the need the products but …”

He said their hearts ached when some clients would say, “I’m sure there’s people who need it more than I do,” despite the fact that a lot of their clients are elderly or diabetic so they are immune-compromised. “And in that age group, they’ve experienced different recessions before and are convinced there are people more vulnerable than them.”

That’s why the couple decided to make the personal kits for the vulnerable.

“We could ease a bit of that stress by providing sanitizer kits to our clients, elderly and at-risk,” Pentz said, “to ease their fears when in public to access groceries and pharmacy items.”

Kits contain masks, hand sanitizer and Lysol wipes. All of these items will help provide, if nothing else, what Lewis refers to as “peace of mind.” Now, they spend five hours a day preparing the kits.

So the couple began distributing the kits to foot clinic’s clients — before the pandemic was declared and when the foot clinic was still open.

“Roll the clock forward about seven days and my work shut down. So we thought we could be doing more.”

Lewis contacted some of the non-profit agencies he has affiliated with, like the women’s shelter, to see if the kits would help.

They received overwhelming positive response so they made kits available to other non-profits who deal with the elderly or immune deficient.

“In my line of work I care for people; I’m a teacher and that’s what a teacher does, and that’s what my wife does, she’s a nurse. So when we hear ‘pandemic’ we know we need to find a way to take care of each other — more than we normally do.”