Meals on Wheels by ACC (MoW) has adapted its services for the health and safety of participants as well as staff and volunteers during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the past year of great challenges, MoW is still successfully providing meals to thousands of vulnerable seniors.
Under normal circumstances, MoW serves lunch five days a week, free of charge, to approximately 625 participants ages 60 and over at its 20 Congregate Nutrition sites throughout Sacramento County. With all the lunch sites closed during the pandemic, MoW currently delivers meals to all participants’ homes.
Due to the profound increase of food insecurity since the start of the pandemic, the organization is now serving 1,330 Congregate Nutrition participants, more than twice as many as the pre-pandemic number. Furthermore, more than 1,300 frail and homebound seniors receive a meal from MoW five days a week.
The meal delivery program’s new safety measures include placing meals at participants’ doorsteps, and MoW volunteers checking with participants by phone to ensure they are safe and well. “For the vulnerable community members we serve, the meals and social connection we provide them are all that is keeping them from hunger and isolation,” says Kevin McAllister, executive director.
“With all our meals currently delivered to homes,” says McAllister, “we make sure staff have personal protective equipment, practice social distancing and sanitize between deliveries. The safety of participants, staff and volunteers is a primary concern, so our drives take a no-contact delivery approach: Knock, leave the meals near the door, then step back 6-10 feet as they wait for seniors to collect their meals. Before leaving the home, staff and volunteers check in with participants to make sure they’re OK.”
MoW thanks ACC Senior Services, Paratransit Inc., and their dedicated volunteers for delivering meals and maintaining social contact with seniors by phone during these challenging days. For general questions about MoW, or to find out how to apply for the Home-Delivered Meal Program or Congregate Nutrition Program, please call (916) 444-9533 or visit www.mowsac.org.