Will Rogers once said, “In time of crisis people want to know that you care, more than they care what you know.”
Every decision we make is driven by the desire to keep everyone safe, connected and well fed. We want those we serve, as well as our staff and the thousands of volunteers who interact daily with our participants, to know that we care about them and their well-being.
In order to reduce exposure to the virus, we are starting the transition to delivering meals only once a week to our most vulnerable recipients. The biggest challenge will be to stay connected, to ensure they know we care and that they are not alone. To do this we will be making wellness calls every day and we are starting a “Friendly Chat” program using volunteers.
We have had a tremendous response to our request for volunteers with more than 1,000 people registering to help. We hope that hundreds of these volunteers will want to make calls and just chat with our homebound recipients. It seems like a perfect opportunity for people who love to talk and are staying safe at home to show they care.
Donations from our appeal for emergency funding are coming in from individuals who have supported us for years as well as from brand new supporters, corporate donors both big and small, and foundations such as the Vital Life Foundation that gave us $200,000. These amazing donors are all coming together, responding and showing they care.
New requests for home-delivered meal service continues to skyrocket. Daily requests for service is up more than 450%. We are adding to and adjusting routes daily to meet the demand and, as we do so, we are adding volunteers newly trained to help. We are now producing between 5,000 and 7,000 meals in our Central Kitchen each day. Part of what we produce is going into the freezer to make sure we have plenty of food if things get worse and we are hampered in our production in any way – loss of staff or food shortages for example.
I am humbled by the outpouring of generosity shown to Meals on Wheels People and our most vulnerable citizens. I sometimes worry that it is the oldest among us who are forgotten and become the population that is last on the priority list, but the incredible support that is being shown right now by our entire community is a reminder that we do care and that our elders are remembered.
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 meet the increasing needs of those we serve during this crisis.