North Shore Elder Services (NSES) will be honoring their “We Give Thanks” award recipients for 2017 at a reception on Thursday December 14. One of those award winners is North Shore Elder Services’ Nutrition Coordinator, Jackie Grimes. Jackie has been selected to receive the Lynah-Carter Staff Appreciation award.
The award is given to a staff member who best exemplifies what it means to go above and beyond without thought of recognition or reward (named after two employees whose selflessness helped others at NSES to keep their jobs during a difficult economic time).
Jackie is one of the faces behind the friendly voices of our Nutrition department. She is humbled by the nomination because, “It is a group effort. I am not comfortable with the spotlight.”
Jackie believes in her department’s team approach to keeping things running efficiently. The plaque at her desk says it all: T (Together) E (Everyone) A (Achieves) M (more).
Jackie came to NSES less than two years ago. She was hired as a part time administrative assistant initially. There were staff transitions in the Nutrition department and within a few months, the full time position of Nutrition Coordinator became available.
Jackie retired after eighteen years from her part time administrative assistant position at Salem’s Council on Aging in December 2015. She thought she would enjoy being retired but quickly determined she was not ready to give up working. Almost immediately, Jackie jumped back into a contract position with another department for the city of Salem. Four months later the opportunity to work at NSES presented itself and the challenge of something new appealed to her. “I applied thinking; I have nothing to lose, why not?” She also had enjoyed working with the senior population and missed it.
The contact with our meals consumers is what Jackie enjoys the most. In addition, the day is busy and steady and that appeals to her as well. “I need to be active. I was afraid I would grow old if I did not have a job – something to get up to do every day.”
The days start early in the Nutrition department. Jackie checks for phone messages first to determine if there have been suspensions or cancellations of meals. She and her co-workers then need to follow up with the meals drivers and Councils on Aging.
The Nutrition department delivers meals for Salem and Peabody (roughly 300 meals per day). It is also the role of the department to order congregate meals for Salem, Danvers, Middleton, and Marblehead on a daily basis.
After the drivers pick up their order of meals to deliver, the phone calls can begin from the drivers letting NSES know if the meal recipient was not available to accept the meal. “We then try to reach the elder and if not successful, we reach out to the emergency contact person. If we have no luck with either, we call the police to do a wellness check and have them get back to us.”
This wellness safety check strongly emphasizes the value of the home delivered meal program.
Jackie’s supervisor, Molly Pecukonis, talks about how Jackie goes above and beyond on a daily basis. “She is always the first to step in and help when a co-worker is overwhelmed, needs time off, or needs help with a problem – always without any thought or expectation of receiving anything in return. She makes sure no elder who needs a meal goes without one.”
Molly describes how Jackie has covered numerous positions in the department when short-staffed. She has filled in as a cook at Charter and Central Street (NSES’ supportive living housing sites) and has been known to do a home delivered meal route when needed.
Not one to pat herself on the back, Jackie does admit to delivering a meal on several occasions. “If one of our consumers calls and for whatever reason missed her meal delivery, I cannot sit here enjoying my lunch, knowing this person has no food. It is easy enough to heat up a meal and run it over to that person. Whatever needs to be done, I want to step up to do. It is an honor to do this work.”
In Jackie’s private life, she has three sons and a daughter living in the area, along with having six grandchildren. She has a busy household and just to add a healthy measure of chaos is Jackie’s 138-pound Great Dane, George. Recently, in an excited puppy state, George accidently broke a couple of double-paned windows, simply by hip checking into them while running around!
Jackie has been a volunteer with 4H for eighteen years and has delivered Thanksgiving and Easter meals with The Moose to the elderly for over twenty-seven years.
Jackie is very happy working at NSES. “I like the positive vibes I feel here. People are friendly and welcoming. I really appreciate working for Molly who has a positive approach to everything and always has a calm demeanor. This department is going in a good direction because of Molly’s leadership and the staff working as a team.”
Thanks to Jackie and all the members of the Nutrition department for their hard work and dedication. Congratulations Jackie on receiving the Lynah-Carter award!
If you would like to attend the December 14 We Give Thanks reception or make a donation to the Home Delivered Meals program, visit our website at https://secure.qgiv.com/for/nses/ The program relies on the generous contributions from those in our communities who care about feeding our elders.
If you or a family member is interested in receiving home delivered meals, call Information Services at 978-750-4540 to find out more.