Humans are naturally social creatures. We thrive in community. We depend on cooperation and collaboration amongst our fellow humans in order to survive. Social distancing and other isolation measures are critical to curbing the spread of COVID-19 — they have also destroyed much of the social fabric and safety nets we so dearly rely upon. A recent survey found that 80% of participants between the ages of 18-35 reported “significant depressive symptoms” due to isolation in quarantine. 

As we approach the one-year anniversary of this terrible pandemic, our team knew we wanted to address the loneliness that ran rampant throughout Los Angeles. Our sister organization The Everest Foundation, a 501c(3) nonprofit dedicated to venture philanthropy in community healthcare, partnered with Project Angel Food to launch The Telephone Angels Program. Project Angel Food, a Los Angeles organization that provides medically tailored meals to people living with critical illnesses, began piloting the Telephone Angels program in April 2020. In addition to their regular meal deliveries, this program pairs volunteers with Project Angel Food clients who identify as feeling isolated and alone. Volunteers connect with those clients over the phone for weekly or twice-weekly social check-ins. Volunteers do not offer medical advice or psychological counseling, simply camaraderie and friendship. Since the pilot program launched, 90 percent of the people participating have said their mood has improved because of the calls. Through its sponsorship, The Everest Foundation ensures the program can provide training and recruitment for volunteers and technical support to expand to more Project Angel Food clients.

We are so thrilled to be working with Project Angel Food on this important and necessary program. The Everest Foundation’s Telephone Angels program provides a holistic approach to health, focusing on their mental well-being as well as their physical health.

Dealing with a critical illness is difficult enough, without the added isolation. We are proud to be a part of that solution.

“Many volunteers can spend just 10 minutes on a phone call with a client and cheer them up or turn their mood around,” said Executive Director of Project Angel Food Richard Ayoub. “But many volunteers spend hours on the phone and forge a lasting and trusting relationship. Often our clients just need somebody to listen. It’s exactly why the Telephone Angels Program is so very important.”