Do you know what renters insurance covers? This video explains the highlights.
By Lorie Ham
This has been a difficult year not only because of the fear of getting COVID-19, but the isolation has been very difficult for some as well. Many have been lucky enough to be isolated with family members, and some are now back at work so may interact with people there, however, for a large number of the elderly it has been especially hard, whether they live on their own or in a retirement community.
My mother in law has a third-floor apartment in a retirement community and until very recently hasn’t been able to leave that apartment since the first lockdown–now they are allowing short, scheduled outside visits. Her physical needs have been attended to and she has her dog, but it has been hard for her. Not being internet savvy, she hasn’t been able to take advantage of video calls, but she has at least been able to talk on the phone. My mother is in another retirement community but her apartment is on the ground floor so we have been able to chat with her outside with sufficient distance and masks after the initial full lockdown was lifted, as well as doing video calls.
Mennonite Aid Insurance Manager Jerry Linscheid has been trying to do what he can for his father who also resides in a retirement community. His father had just lost his wife in November so hadn’t really adjusted yet to being alone when Covid hit. “This has been a big change on top of a big change. The rules in place are designed to keep COVID at bay, but that translates into little or no contact with people. It seems really tragic that when people need visits and hugs, that is not possible now and may not be for months to come.”
For his father, not being one who has embraced technology either, most contact has been through phone calls—Jerry calls him every day. The only times his father has left the building have been to visit the doctor. However, he does get exercise by walking the hallways and the stairs of the 3-story building with a mask on, at times when he feels he is least likely to run into anyone.
Retirement communities are doing all they can to help the people who live there. Caitlin Gipson, Marketing Consultant at Sierra View Homes in Reedley, CA, shared some of the things they are doing to combat loneliness in their residents. More info can be found on their website.
- Daily check-in chats with apartment residents when delivering meals
- Visits from our Chaplain for prayer/connection
- Hallway exercise classes
- Individual enrichment activities: adult coloring, word searches, crosswords, writing, drawing, painting
- Playing games with our residents (dominoes, tic-tac-toe, hangman, chess, checkers)
- Walks to enjoy the sunshine
- Zoom/Facetime with families
- Zoom/Facetime visits with doctors (whenever necessary)
- Picking flowers
- Custom music headsets as part of our Music Project
- Interactions with pets
Palm Village Executive Director Jim Higbee shared that they are doing many of the same things for their residents. Palm Village is also located in Reedley. “Our Activities team and Social Services team have really been amazing through all of this. They have assisted residents with Zoom calls, Facetime/Duo calls, celebrating birthdays in an extra special way, morning wheel chair strolls around the campus, physically distanced small group activities and most importantly, daily interaction, conversation, and reassurance.”
Residents can leave their rooms to see other residents and are encouraged to wear masks when leaving their rooms. They have also been having virtual religious services streamed through their closed circuit channel. At the very end of June, there was guidance from the state health department regarding resuming visitation with strict guidelines. “We began having outdoor visits in early July under the new guidelines.”
While this isolation has impacted the mental health and well-being of Palm Village residents, Higbee feels they have fared much better overall than they initially feared. “Especially as this has gone on much longer than anyone initially anticipated. Our residents have done quite well and all the credit goes to our staff.”
Higbee stated that they are also appreciative of all the support and understanding they have received from families and residents, as well as the larger community. “Without all of the prayers and support, we would not be doing as well as we are.”
Many seniors and others who live on their own don’t have this type of support available to them, but there are ways for them to cope with the isolation. They too can take advantage of video calls or phone calls to family and friends. There are also places that have free or discounted food delivery services for those who can’t drive to the grocery store and can’t afford regular delivery costs. Some internet companies are providing discounted internet during this time. You can find other tips on how to survive the isolation by searching online. If you have a family member or friend in this situation, consider calling them more often and doing video calls where possible. If we work together, we can survive this difficult time.
By Lorie Lewis Ham
Labor Day is nearly upon us again and for many that means a three-day weekend. One way that people often celebrate on Labor Day is with some of their favorite foods. While there aren’t any specific foods associated with this holiday, like there are with Thanksgiving and Christmas, many families still have their own favorites.
“I can remember going to my grandma’s and she would have BBQ teriyaki beef skewers, potato salad, and for dessert she would make chocolate cake with a white vanilla frosting,” shares Marsha Okada, Underwriter for Mennonite Aid Plan / Mennonite Insurance Services.
“My favorite Labor Day food is just basic hamburgers, watermelon, and corn on the cob,” says another Mennonite Aid employee Dalia Jimenez.
Regional Sales Manager Vic Alemania also prefers BBQ for the holiday, and for summer in general. His favorite being BBQ brisket or pulled pork. (You can learn more about his love of BBQing in last month’s article).
Staff member Michelle Heinrichs’ family enjoys BBQ as well, but also has another unique favorite. “They really love when I do a simple BBQ beef sandwich meal with the Shredded Potato Casserole. What is the easiest part of my BBQ beef or pork ribs are they are dumped into a crockpot and are ready to enjoy later. But their absolute favorite that we do when family and friends come over is Taco Ring.”
This time of year, BBQ seems to be a very popular choice for many people. You can find a multitude of BBQ recipes online simply by doing a Google search. AllRecipes.com has a multitude of recipes to try out for your holiday or summer BBQing! Does your family have a favorite?
REEDLEY, Calif.–Mennonite Insurance announces the scholarship winners for 2020.
Mennonite Insurance Services is excited to announce the recipients of the 2020 Scholarships. The five scholarship winners represent two denominations and span over 1,000 miles.
Students must be members of an Anabaptist church, be at least a junior at a West Coast college or university, and have a GPA of 3.0 or better.
“Everyone who submitted the applications was fantastic. We have a wide variety of talents among our constituency. This bodes well for the church in the coming generation,” notes Jerry Linscheid, general manager.
Scholarship recipients are:
|Scholarship Recipient||Home Church||College or University|
|David Kovalenko||Smirna Christian Church, Vancouver WA||Portland State University|
|Alexis Munoz||Gateway Community Church Brethren in Christ, Chino CA||University of Redlands|
|Kevin Reifman||North Fresno MB Church, Fresno CA||Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary|
|Lawrence Smith||Neighborhood Church Fresno, Fresno CA||Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary|
|Elizabeth Wilson||Shafter MB Church, Shafter CA||Fresno Pacific University|
“It’s great to be able to help our recipients reach their educational goals. I feel it’s very rewarding for us to have small role in their success,” said Claudia Fletes, scholarship administrator.
Mennonite Insurance Services and its parent, Mennonite Aid Plan, provide property insurance to churches and their members on the West Coast.
By Lorie Ham
We have been living a new normal for the past few months, finding ourselves mostly at home except if we have to work or get supplies. Because of that, many are finding new and creative ways to spend their time. Some are even starting brand new hobbies they never would have thought of before this.
Mennonite Insurance employee Vic Alemania has picked up an unusual new hobby that is not only fun but also practical in many ways–smoking meats. “I have always loved to BBQ, and have eaten at BBQ restaurants, and a plate of ‘ribs, brisket, and pulled pork’ is pricey… so I thought I can do it cheaper and maybe better!”
So he set out to learn more about smoking meats by watching the Food Network, BBQ TV shows, and of course YouTube where you can find videos on how to do almost anything. While educating himself he also had to determine what kind of equipment he might need. “I have two charcoal Webers and just purchased an offset smoker.”
Vic says that he smokes ribs, brisket, pork shoulder, and chicken, and purchases them from the usual places like Costco, Sam’s Club, and Wholesale Meat Markets. He uses the Snake Method, which is low and slow. It takes anywhere from four to 12 hours to smoke the meat, depending on the type of meat and the weight. Perth BBQ School is one of many websites with detailed and easy to follow instructions on smoking meats.
The hardest part has been maintaining the temperature at 250-275 degrees, but Vic says he feels that anyone should be able to do it, especially if they own a 22-inch Weber.
What he enjoys most about smoking meats is that it is hands on, as he is adding wood, charcoal, or wood chips as it goes along instead of using a pellet smoker. There is a special satisfaction to having done it all yourself, and the money you save is a nice bonus. “And I think my BBQ is better,” Vic says, with a smile.
Thanks to his new hobby, not only is Vic providing this delicious meat to his immediate family, but he has also been able to share with neighbors.
So if you are looking for something new to try, and you love BBQ, why not give it a shot!
By Lorie Ham
On the evening of August 8, I heard a strange noise on the front doorstep. In this age of pandemic, this made me even more nervous than usual. Who would be at my doorstep this time of the evening? Was someone trying to steal my latest Amazon package I had forgotten to take in?
I put on my mask and grabbed the baseball bat near my front door. I slowly opened the door, hoping it was just the neighborhood cat and that there wasn’t some unmasked stranger standing there. I looked all around, but there was no one there. I took a deep breath, grabbed my Amazon package, and then froze. There on my doorstep was a basket of zucchini!
I took the package inside, quickly washed my hands, and then slipped back out to look over this mysterious bundle. There wasn’t a note anywhere, and the zucchini looked fresh so the person hadn’t left rotting zucchini out there as some sort of prank. But why on earth had someone done this? Was it some zucchini farmer trying to get people hooked so they would start buying zucchini? No that didn’t make sense, there was no way to be sure anyone would then buy it from that farmer.
I grabbed a flashlight and began looking all around the front steps for any kind of clue. Anything the mysterious zucchini phantom may have dropped, or footprints they may have left behind. But nothing. I sighed in exasperation. I didn’t like unsolved mysteries.
Giving up on my search for clues I gingerly picked up the basket and took it in the house. I put it on the kitchen counter, then went to sit in my recliner for a while continuing to puzzle out what could have happened. The basket seemed pretty ordinary, no lead to follow there. It wasn’t as if I could call the police and have them dust for prints or check for DNA, they would just laugh.
My tummy began to grumble, the zucchini did look awfully good. My mouth watered at the thought of grilled or fried zucchini. I hadn’t had that in ages. But what if it were poisoned? Did someone know I loved zucchini and they were using this as a clever ploy to poison me? Hmm, I really couldn’t think of anyone who hated me enough to do that. My ex and I had split amicably, I wasn’t in any kind of feud with a family member over an inheritance, and I worked from home so I didn’t have any coworkers who hated me. No this seemed unlikely, unless of course there was a poison zucchini serial killer!
I finally gave in, washed some of the zucchini, and started looking up recipes online. I found one that sounded good and easy, and went for it. It was delicious! When I was done stuffing my face with fried zucchini, I realized it was late and headed to bed, even though I was still bothered by the mystery of where it had come from.
The next morning as I went out to pick up my newspaper from the driveway my neighbor Charlie started waving at me and smiling. “So how did you like the zucchini?”
I gasped. It was from him? But why? “Um, it was great. Charlie why did you leave it on my doorstep without a note?”
He laughed. “Because August 8 is National Sneak Some Zucchini on your Neighbor’s porch day. Didn’t you know that?”
Not wanting to appear uninformed, I smiled. “Oh yeah sure I knew that. Thanks.” I then grabbed my newspaper and rushed back inside and straight to my computer.
Sure enough, he was right! According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac website, apparently news and talk radio personality Tom Roy at wellcat.com created the holiday as a way for gardeners to rid themselves of extra produce. The article went on to say that at this time of year zucchini vines go crazy producing hundreds of tiny squash and that they quickly grow to gargantuan size if not picked. To celebrate this unusual holiday, you simply wait until the dead of night and quietly creep up to your neighbors’ front doors and leave plenty of zucchini for them to enjoy.
I laughed. Well now I had heard everything. A holiday for zucchini? But as I remembered how wonderful the fried zucchini tasted during the night, I thought maybe this is actually a great holiday! Maybe I should grow my own zucchini and sneak some on someone else’s doorstep next year.
I smiled and began looking up information on growing zucchini. A sinister laugh bubbled out of me. Next year I would be the zucchini phantom!