Meals on Wheels busier than normal during coronavirus pandemic

Updated: Mar. 31, 2020 at 6:48 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - During the coronavirus pandemic, many people are finding it difficult to get food or other essential items.

Senior citizens are encouraged to stay at home and some even think going to the grocery store is too dangerous.

This is where the Meals on Wheels program steps up to help.

In recent weeks Meals on Wheels has become much busier as they serve more people in the greater Cincinnati area. Not only are they delivering more meals, but they also need more volunteers.

Here’s how you can help.

“Meals on Wheels always needs donations but especially right now,” explains Meals on Wheels of Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky Executive Director Jennifer Steele. “We want to keep people at home. We don’t want seniors trying to venture out to the grocery store for any reason, that’s a great place to get sick.”

Meals on Wheels provides meals to seniors who are homebound or have no way of getting food for themselves.

With new clients being added due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, they are busier now more than ever.

The numbers don’t lie.

50,000 meals delivered a month is normal for Meals on Wheels of Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky.

Just last week, they delivered 32,000 meals.

Kerry Oldiges is a new volunteer with Meals on Wheels.

“I kind of wanted to do something,” Oldiges explains why she decided to volunteer, “My mom’s in Massachusetts and she’s self-isolating and she’s in her 80′s. I can’t get to her but I can get to somebody else.”

Oldiges is just one of many volunteers making it possible to feed those most at risk right now.

But, Executive Director Steele says they need volunteers in all aspects right now.

“We need volunteers to help really in all aspects of our operations,” said Steele, “We’re keeping people safe and we’re doing it in a responsible way, but we have to make sure that we continue to be there for our seniors during this time.”

“There’s always people that they need in the kitchen,” Oldiges tells us about the various volunteer responsibilities, “Getting out on the road is fun. You get to kind of drive around and you still get to maintain your distance a little bit as you drop off your groceries.”

Part of the mission of Meals on Wheels includes connecting with seniors when visiting their homes. Those interactions have been changed drastically with the volunteers practicing social distancing.

But people like Oldiges hope soon they can deliver more than a meal and get back to making connections and friends in Greater Cincinnati.

You can find out more about volunteering and donating here: Meals on Wheels of Southwest Ohio & Northern Kentucky.

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