Meals on Wheels Atlanta says it’s seen an increase in demand for deliveries in the last week.
That’s when stricter guidelines began keeping Georgians – especially older individuals – confined to their homes in an effort to keep from contracting the coronavirus.
Hillary Baker with the organization says volunteers are taking extra precautions when packing meals.
“We have to ensure that everybody is 6 feet apart, they’re wearing gloves, masks, and, of course, in the kitchen, we’re only allowing the chef and his staff,” said Baker.
She says volunteers are also not going into homes when they make deliveries, something that was often the lone social interaction many seniors had during the week.
“That part is of concern to us, that piece of loneliness and having a chance to talk to somebody,” said Baker. “But our volunteers know – even the ones that have longstanding relationships with some of the seniors – we’re not going in.”
Baker says they’re working to enlist other volunteers to reach out to homebound seniors on the phone.
“Someone who wants to volunteer from their house – and they literally do not want to leave their house – we’re happy to let them call a senior just to talk to them,” she said.
Baker says Meals on Wheels has seen an increase in volunteers recently. But she says the organization is also very much in need of donations to help keep pace with demand for meals during the pandemic.
“The amount of meals we’re preparing is unbelievable,” said Baker. “We still have 502 seniors on our ‘can’t wait’ list. So for all of this crazy meal prep, 500 or so are actually on our list that qualify for meals, but we don’t have the money to be able to serve them.”