Local senior citizens now have a way to ask for help during the coronavirus pandemic without picking up their phones or leaving their homes.

The Lackawanna County Area Agency on Aging is distributing yellow and green papers. If a person needs help with an errand or has an emergency, then he or she can place a yellow paper in his or her window. The person can put the green paper in a window in he or she is fine and doesn’t need anything.

Artie Frank, Clarks Summit Borough’s emergency management director, explained the need for the papers in the windows.

“It is very important to have these papers so that our local police may offer help and your neighbors can help out fellow neighbors. It is actually for anyone who sees the yellow paper to check on the person inside. If we can assist just one person, the whole program will be considered a success. Just keep in mind that it can be a small errand or even just a comforting voice.”

His job is to respond to emergencies along with the emergency management team to help first responders and any other persons that might need help with food or shelter and be on the scene if there was an evacuation or other crises.

“It is a way to be looking out for others,” said Gerrie Carey, Clarks Summit Borough Council president. “The Clarks Summit borough office will have someone there if someone needs help with something.”

“I think the papers are a splendid idea,” said Beth Perry. “If neighbors know the person, they should check the window to see the color of paper and if the person needs something. I live in a neighborhood where we know each other. A Facebook page has been set up for our neighborhood, and if anybody needs anything, they post it there.”

EMMA BLACK / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHERClarks Summit Borough Council President Gerrie Carey and EMA Director Artie Frank show yellow and green cards that can be placed in the windows of peoples’ homes to signal if they need help.


She has kept busy by organizing her spices in alphabetical order, cleaning drawers, closets, attic and basement and volunteering to pack groceries for Friends of the Poor. She has found the time to read books, video visits with her bowling team, crossword puzzles, talking on the phone with friends, neighborhood chats in lawn chairs keeping a safe distance and doing yard work.

Frank Besten thinks the papers are an excellent idea for people who can’t get out for medicine. His niece and nephew call him and his wife weekly to see what they need and will shop for them. The neighbors are also calling to see if they need anything.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said Paulette Habeeb. “It limits the exposure but if someone needs help the yellow paper could alert them to an issue especially with elderly population.”

“I think it is far better to have a variety of people checking in by phone daily and I appreciate those who are trying to reach out,” said Leah Ducato Rudolph.

Barbara Evans also believes it’s a good idea.

“I think the green and yellow papers are a great idea if someone needs help. A person can drive by a house or one of the neighbors can see a yellow paper and see what the person needs,” Evans said. “During the stay at home order, I have been making masks for friends and family. I have been walking the track at the Abington Heights High School and painting. I have been texting my high school friends in Virginia, South Carolina and Maryland. We had a drive by party for another classmate.

“On May 2, my husband and I will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary and we will be ordering dinner from a local restaurant.”

“The papers are a good idea for people who may need help. They may help with groceries if they do not have enough canned goods or things in the freezer to hold them,” said Maria Fanning. She and her husband, Richard like to take daily walks with their dog Shiloh.

The green and yellow papers can be picked up at Lackawanna County Area Agency on Aging, 200 Adams Ave., third floor, Scranton. Or call 570-963-6740.

Frank and Carey will pass them out at Gerrity’s 100 Old Lackawanna Trail Road in Clarks Summit on Friday from 7-9 a.m. and the papers will be available during regular business hours.