City Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill) hosted the first annual Senior Appreciation Resource Fair yesterday – an event created to showcase the programs and services available to senior citizens in Brooklyn.
The event took place at the Ingersoll Community Center at 177 Myrtle Avenue in Fort Greene, and was co-sponsored by Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill), Senator Velmanette Montgomery (D-Fort Greene, Boerum Hill) and Assembly Member Walter T. Moseley (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill).
The resource fair was staffed by representatives from organizations such as the AARP, the JCC of Greater Coney Island and Fidelis, who provided the seniors in attendance with free information about the services they offer. The fair also featured a free brunch, a brisk exercise session, and drop-in workshops offering legal and financial advice. To top it all off, the event was staffed by a live DJ, who kept the energy level high with a slew of classic R&B, funk and soul songs.
“Today is a wonderful day, it’s a beautiful day, but what’s really important is that you visit the tables that are here,” said Cumbo. “The organizations that are here are doing extraordinary work, and they are here to help and support you in any capacity that you can think of.”
The JCC, for instance, attended the fair to tell seniors about their Senior Citizen Transportation Program, which provides residents aged 60 and over with handicap-accessible transit. Meanwhile, the AARP representatives talked about their new campaign to stop the pharmaceutical industry from price gouging seniors for prescription drugs.
“How many people here feel like they pay too much for prescription drugs?” Cumbo asked the crowd. “If you’re paying too much, come over to the AARP table and find out how they can help. Get the information. We have to make sure that we’re in the game, and that we’re making our voices heard.”
Among the other groups in attendance were the Veteran Advocacy Project (VAP), which offers free legal services for elderly veterans; Older Adults Technology Services (OATS), which trains elderly patrons to use new technology; and CaringKind, an organization devoted to providing care to seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
When asked about the purpose behind the event, Cumbo said that it was designed to be a “one-stop shop” for seniors in need of any sort of help – be it legal, financial or medical – and give them easy access to the network of resources offered across Brooklyn.
“We really just wanted to bring our seniors together,” said Cumbo. “We wanted to do a one-stop shop, so that our seniors don’t have to run all over the city to find the answers to a lot of the questions that they have on a day-to-day basis when they call our office. So we wanted to create today as a way for them to be able to come together, enjoy themselves, get the information, and take it back to their communities, wherever they might be.”