Weekly Update From Our CEO #1

To our amazing donors and volunteers,

Thank you for your overwhelming support this past week as we have been dealing with the ongoing changes to our operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  So many of you have stepped up to take extra Meals on Wheels routes, donated handled bags for our deliveries and made gifts online. Your efforts are truly appreciated.

While the situation is evolving daily, I want to update you on what Meals on Wheels People is doing to comply with new restrictions that have been put in place for both Oregon and Washington.

And I want to stress that we are committed to continuing to provide meals to our most vulnerable community members, including the increased demand.

All of our neighborhood centers were closed to diners beginning last Friday. Those who dined at one of those centers were able to pick up a to-go meal on Friday and Monday. Because so many of the community buildings where we operate have now closed, we had to discontinue this service yesterday. All regular dining center participants are now receiving home-delivered meals as needed. Our center staff are conducting regular wellness calls with those diners who chose not to receive home delivery.

To protect both our homebound seniors and our delivery drivers, we transitioned to a “no contact” meal delivery method. Drivers now hang a bag with meals on the doorknob of each home, ring the bell and then back up six feet. This provides distance between the driver and the homebound senior, but continues to allow for a wellness check. Meal deliveries have also been limited to three days per week with multiple meals provided at each delivery.

With so many older adults in our community now confined to their homes, the demand for our service is skyrocketing. We have been able to meet the need up to this point; however, we are incurring additional expenses to meet this unprecedented need and are unclear what the future holds.

Our nation has not experienced an event like this for more than 100 years. There are a lot of unknowns. We must stay calm and continue to feed people who depend on us for nutrition and to show seniors that we care. We must continue to ensure our staff, volunteers and participants follow health guidance protocols. I am extremely grateful to you all for supporting the vulnerable older adults in our community even as we are facing huge interruptions to our daily work and family lives.

No matter how far apart we may be, remember: we’re in this together.

If you would like to make an additional donation to see us through these uncertain times, please visit our webpage at mowp.org/donate. Every gift will be used to provide nutritious meals to homebound seniors. The term “homebound” now being more crucial than ever.

With warm regards,

Suzanne Washington

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