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Meals on Wheels serving homebound seniors despite COVID-19

Hundreds of weekly volunteers are still pulling up to help bring meals to seniors unable to leave their homes.

Posted: Apr 7, 2020 7:28 AM
Updated: Apr 7, 2020 10:22 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Meals on wheels serves nutritious meals to homebound seniors, one of the more at-risk demographics for COVID-19. 

Despite the ongoing health crisis, meals on wheels is still up and running.

Hundreds of weekly volunteers are still pulling up to help bring meals to seniors unable to leave their homes. Volunteers said they will continue to serve because "they need us and we love them," said one route driver. 

Meals on wheels serves 350 home delivered meals to seniors at-risk for COVID-19. 

Interserv staff said they've had to make some procedural changes to ensure safety for their seniors as well their volunteers. 

“I knew immediately we were gonna go to just once a week delivery, but we’ve had to kind of learn from other things as we go. First, we were letting the volunteers come in to get their meals. Last week, we said no, it’s better for us to bring it out to you on the curb. So, we’re learning as we go,”said Angie Gardner, director of senior nutrition. 

Volunteers are now delivering a week's worth of meals once a week, which is requiring the meals to be freezable. 

“Of course we aren’t doing as much salads or fresh things cause that all has to be able to be frozen,”said Gardner. 

Route drivers are having to now drop off meals on doorsteps rather than hand delivering them.

Interserv staff said dropping the meals off on the doorstep or a porch table helps limit contact, but that daily personal interaction is what their seniors miss most. 

“We’re keeping them safe, but I know loneliness is a big part of that so, that’s why we’re making sure other staff or volunteers calling at least to check on them,”said Gardner. 

Interserv staff said they have not seen a decrease in volunteers since the pandemic and are not running low on food supply as they are constantly restocking. 

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Temperatures and humidity will continue to climb on Monday making it feel like a typical hot and humid summer day in northwest Missouri and northeast Kansas. Temperatures will warm into the mid to upper 80s and increasing moisture and instability. This will likely mean shower and thunderstorm chances for the remainder of the Memorial Day weekend.
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