Manning, Clarendon County program allows elderly to ask for non-emergency help from safe distance


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Manning and Clarendon County agencies are partnering to help ensure isolated seniors have a way to communicate they need assistance during the pandemic.

Project Are You Okay program is a way for seniors to communicate with their neighbors in a simple way without having to leave the house or force at-risk seniors to break isolation for safety. By using a "green alert" and "red alert," which take the form of a green or a red thumbs up placard placed in a highly visible window, they can indicate when they need assistance.

Assistance needed could be a wellness check, help with groceries, prescriptions or basic medical supplies or simply wanting to have a conversation to combat loneliness.

When assistance is given by neighbors, they are supposed to adhere to social distancing protocol, and the red thumbs down alert is not supposed to be used in emergency medical situations. In the event of an emergency, call 911.

Project Are You Okay has been shared by the S.C. Department on Aging with the Administration for Community Living, a key partner of the Department of Health and Human Services, and the White House, and it is shared in a daily report to Gov. Henry McMaster, according to Janae Stowe, director of the Area Agency on Aging.

The implementation is a partnership between Manning Heart and Soul, a community group, and Clarendon County Council on Aging's Meals on Wheels programs. It will provide a much-needed outlet for the seniors in Manning and Clarendon County, many of whom were already isolated before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic with the exception of occasional wellness checks or Meals on Wheels deliveries.

COVID-19 has further exacerbated the situation for seniors because of stricter isolation and self-distancing protocols, according to Santee-Lynches Regional Council of Governments, a state-enacted agency that works to facilitate collaboration and problem-solving across counties and jurisdictions that serves Clarendon, Sumter, Lee and Kershaw counties.

"I would love to see the innovation taking place in Manning and Clarendon County be replicated and implemented nationwide to ensure the well-being of our seniors," Stowe said.

Manning Heart and Soul is a community-driven effort focusing on what matters to the citizens of the Manning area. By sharing stories and ideas, the goal is to build a common vision for the future.

If you would like alerts for yourself or a family member, you can find them on Facebook in the Manning Heart and Soul group. Or, email for a set. These are PDF files, and you will need a printer.

For more information on Manning Heart and Soul, like the Facebook Page, Manning Heart and Soul, or email