Mary Ann's Story: Weekly calls led to an incredible friendship

“I have so much to be thankful for because of United Way.” - Mary Ann

Nearly ten years ago, Mary Ann was flipping through her newspaper when she noticed an article promoting a new program in Westmoreland, Fayette and Greene counties. It was called Faith in Action, now known as United Way’s Open Your Heart to a Senior program. The article was encouraging seniors to reach out for help.

“It said seniors could get help with anything at home or going to doctor visits, so I called. I really needed that. I still need that,” Mary Ann explained. “It’s been a blessing.”

Eventually, Mary Ann started receiving check-in calls from Open Your Heart to a Senior volunteer Elizabeth Cooley, and an incredible friendship began.

“About six or seven years ago she started calling me. And she took it upon herself to call me twice a week, and we talk for about 45 minutes,” Mary Ann said. “I really admire her. She will call me no matter what.”

For 93-year-old Mary Ann, their phone calls are something she looks forward to every week. The two discuss the day’s happenings, current events, their families, Elizabeth’s job and more.

“It’s something I can count on,” Mary Ann continued. “Our friendship is so special. I love her like my own.”

While Elizabeth lives in Allegheny County, the two get together at least once a year to visit in person. One year, Elizabeth even brought her mom to visit with Mary Ann.

“I can’t say enough good things about United Way. The whole organization just does so much for seniors. It’s wonderful,” Mary Ann added.