Buffalo man volunteers time to keep people connected virtually during state shutdown


BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) – As the coronavirus pandemic continues to change every day routines, one program in Buffalo is determined to add some normalcy in people’s lives. Matthew Paulk helps run Oasis, an adult day care in Buffalo. Several times a week members would get together to eat and socialize, but because of the COVID 19 pandemic, Oasis had to temporarily close.

“It was becoming clear we didn’t have very many options,” Paulk said. “We simply couldn’t see them and this is an adult social day center.”

Paulk brainstormed with his coworkers and together they came up with a plan to run the program virtually. Since many members don’t have access to internet for video chats, the center set up conference calls.

“I didn’t think it was going to be too significant to do a conference call you know,” Paulk said. “I’ve never enjoyed a conference call actually.”

To his surprise the members reacted well to this change, and now three days a week Paulk and his team try their best to offer their members comfort during a troubling time. Comfort to members like Kim, who tested positive for COVID 19.

“I’m still dealing with it because my voice comes and goes even when I’m laying, not laying down,” Kim said while on the conference call. “And I still have my achiness and joint pain.”

Kim, who did not want to provide her last name, says without the program she would feel isolated and depressed.

Paulk runs the program remotely Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Paulk and his team also help members with their grocery shopping, to make sure they have cleaning supplies, toilet paper and other essentials.

“Seniors could really use activities that keep them engaged, not just to take their time away from busy work,” he said. “They’re still alive and there’s still so much fun and enjoyable things they could be doing.”

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