Taming the Octopus: South Sound Seniors Gain Access to Independence

Jean and Jane

Twin sisters Jean and Jane, loading meals. Both have worked with the Senior Services for South Sound Nutrition program for years, as cooks and as delivery drivers for Meals on Wheels (Photo Credit: Senior Services for South Sound)

Guest post by: TechSoup Global 

Based in Olympia, Washington Senior Services for South Sound is a nonprofit organization dedicated to celebrating life with seniors and their families and supporting them so they can maintain their independence.

With the population of people aged 65 and older expected to increase 194% in Thurston County by 2015, Senior Services has their hands full. They feed, care for and assist hundreds of seniors every day. In 2008, they served more than 130,000 meals to seniors with the help and coordination of 98 staff and 150 volunteers. Needless to say, that requires flawless coordination, or as Dawn Warren, Development Director for Senior Services, says, “Our agency is like an octopus; we have a central mission and vision, but seven different programs going in seven different directions.”

Enter Microsoft and TechSoup Global, who provided Senior Services with the donated software they needed to help tame the octopus. Chances are that many seniors aren’t using Microsoft Excel or Access on a daily basis. Yet, there’s also a good chance that they may benefit from the way Senior Services uses those products to help them achieve their mission. Using Microsoft Office —specifically Excel, Access and Outlook – Senior Services is better able to track meal deliveries, coordinate volunteer activity, and stay on top of its clients’ ever-changing needs.

“It’s not just software to us, it’s the thing that makes all of this caring possible, and we are truly thankful for it. A good example of how we use these programs is our meal tracking system. Our drivers, coordinators, and kitchen staff are able to easily see what food went where, and if there is a glitch in delivery, it is visible because of the easy to use spreadsheets we have created,” says Warren.

Microsoft has a long standing commitment to provide nonprofit organizations with the technology they need to serve their communities. For more information about resources for nonprofits, please visit www.microsoft.com/nonprofit.

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