In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the United Way Meals on Wheels program is delivering three-weeks of shelf-stable meals to homebound seniors in Jefferson County.
All morning on March 26, Meals on Wheels volunteers streamed in front of the United Way offices to pick up the 21-day supply of shelf-stable meals. Many of the volunteers said it was their first time delivering and replied to United Way’s call for volunteers.
“This will supplement what they are already getting from the Meals on Wheels program, just in case there is a disruption in our supply chain or ability to get them food, said Drew Langloh, CEO of United Way of Central Alabama, “They will have food in the pantry, something to fall back on.”
Beginning the week of March 30th, Meals on Wheels will reduce its program from daily delivery (five days a week) to one large delivery. During the one-time visit, volunteers will deliver five to seven meals.
The reason for the reduction of daily visits is to minimize contact between both the volunteers and clients to lessen the possibility of transmitting coronavirus.
“We want to keep our seniors safe, so daily delivery is not the safest option,” said Becky Wright, Director of the Meals on Wheels Program in Jefferson County, “A lot of our existing volunteers are seniors themselves, and many of them are continuing their routes, but some of them, understandably, need to take a step back.”
The Meals on Wheels program serves about 2000 meals a day, with 1100 of the meals delivered to homebound seniors. An additional 900 meals go to senior centers where people eat in a group.
To receive their meals, participants in the senior congregate meal program are picking up their meals curbside at some senior centers.
Langloh emphasized why Meals on Wheels is vital to the community.
“The reason we are doing this is to keep our seniors safe and ensure they still have access to healthy food.”
Along with feeding our seniors, United Way of Central Alabama is responding to the crisis, which includes heavy unemployment as a result of the economy coming to a halt to fight COVID-19.
In anticipation, United Way established the Community Crisis Fund, which will focus on providing food and emergency assistance for people who are struggling. The fund will also support distressed nonprofits.