Dinsmore Partner Jennifer Mason Helping Her Community during COVID-19 Pandemic
West Virginia native and Dinsmore partner Jennifer Keadle Mason knew she couldn’t just sit by silently and watch COVID-19 unfold. The effects of the coronavirus are prevalent across the country, and COVID-19 is having a big impact on America’s smallest communities, where resources are often limited and the population is aging.
“In this time of great need, it’s imperative to help the most vulnerable population,” Mason said. “Our at-risk neighbors have been advised they should not leave their homes, but no one gave them instructions on how to accomplish that task. Feeding Seniors/Saving Businesses will help at-risk individuals comply with shelter-in-place orders while supporting local businesses.”
Mason’s newly formed venture, Feeding Seniors/Saving Businesses, has seen great success in the few weeks of its existence. The service, in partnership with non-profit Bimbo Coles & Company Project, Inc., provides a hot meal three days a week to the highest-risk citizens in Greenbrier County, where Dinsmore’s Lewisburg office is located. The organization has partnered with local restaurants to prepare meals while paying food costs, employee wages, overhead, and other costs to help those restaurants stay in business.
“We’re hoping to not only serve our at-risk neighbors but also to save these businesses and the jobs of their employees,” Mason explained. “So far, we’ve raised enough money to serve over 6,000 meals, and that’s just in three weeks.” This week, Feeding Seniors/Saving Businesses will be serving 700 at-risk individuals each day.
In this coordinated effort, Mason has reached out to many state and local organizations including nearby West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM). WVSOM created a hotline for the at-risk population. In addition to placing orders for groceries and other items, WVSOM is screening individuals for health care needs.
As the crisis unfolds and the restaurants have avenues through federal programs to survive, Feeding Seniors is evolving. In partnership with Community Action, the Marvel Center and others, it will now make sure the at-risk group has access to grocery items and other needs. The organization will begin taking grocery orders through the local IGA this week. Volunteers will deliver the items to the individuals, while maintaining a safe distance. Those with limited funds will be assisted through partnerships with the local food banks and donations.
Mason is a partner in Dinsmore’s Litigation department. She’s based in the Lewisburg and Pittsburgh offices and services clients throughout the state of West Virginia and the greater Pittsburgh area. She focuses on corporate, catastrophic, and complex litigation.
Please contact Jennifer Mason if you would like to volunteer or donate to Feeding Seniors/Saving Businesses.