The Power of A Call

Jose A., Claims

The Torchbearers Calling program inspired me to reach out to people I had lost touch with. I called a man I worked with as a janitor about 20 years ago. He was recently in an accident and hasn’t been able to work, so he had been feeling depressed. When I caught him by surprise on FaceTime, he said I made his day. He called me back a week later, and this time, he was dressed up in a cowboy hat, and his laugh and charisma were back.
I also called my aunt in Mexico, who I met for the first time in February when I went there to visit my grandfather. I wanted to see how she had been doing since the virus hit. The annual parade in her city had just been canceled for the first time ever, and she missed attending social gatherings. We talked about her love of music, and she shared some of our family history with me.

Lucille R., Underwriting

I volunteer to help call and check in on seniors through a local program. I ask how they’re doing and see if they need anything, like groceries or financial assistance. Some people just want someone to talk to. I spoke to one lady for 45 minutes; she has a husband and children, but she said she’d run out of things to say to them. Another woman I talked to was previously active as a volunteer in her community, but she had been by herself with no one to talk to for weeks.

I stayed on the phone with her for a long time. I started making the calls in early April and have been doing it for a few hours every weekend. I’ve called about 500 people, but many don’t pick up, so I leave a message with a number they can call if they need help. One woman I spoke to enjoyed it so much she signed up to make calls herself.

Michele W., Engineering

My mother and mother-in-law are both turning 80 this year, so when stay-at-home guidelines were announced, my husband, children and I set up a daily call with them on Google Hangouts. We wanted to make sure they were up, moving around and alert every day. It was a way to see how they were doing mentally and emotionally. This quickly expanded, and now we have aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters who also join the call. My mother lives alone in an over-55 complex — there’s no more going out to breakfast or lunch or even just meeting in the hall to chat.
The daily conversation goes anywhere, but we try to stay away from news about the pandemic if we can. It can be exhausting for us all to squeeze the call in each day on top of all of our other responsibilities, but we know we’re helping them stay engaged. At the end of every call, they say, “we’re doing this again tomorrow, right?”

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