When the pandemic hit, for the safety of their recipients and volunteers, MCH Meals on Wheels reduced their schedule to delivering meals two days per week, two hot meals, and three frozen meals for the five days.
“In June, we were able to scale the previous two days a week service up to three,” said Katie Tarbox, Program Coordinator at MCH Meals on Wheels. “This made a huge difference since recipients prefer daily hot meals."
In addition to existing recipients, others have needed meals delivered during the pandemic. Demand has surged and doesn't appear to be returning to pre-pandemic numbers any time soon, according to the release. MCH Meals on Wheels now serves 40% more meals than before the pandemic, and the numbers generally increase even more in the winter months.
"We are very proud that we add all new recipients as quickly as we can, often that day or week, and we operate without a waitlist," Tarbox said. "Our volunteers are wonderful, but we just can't handle adding on the much-needed additional two days without more volunteers."
MCH Meals on Wheels delivers meals to people who are homebound and have difficulty preparing food for themselves. The program also serves people who need help short-term, such as after surgery or recovering from an illness. As many seniors have been isolated during the pandemic, the need for caring volunteers is now more critical than ever. Many meal recipients say these volunteers are the people they see the most, and sometimes, the volunteers are the only people they see all day.
The volunteer drivers note it’s more than just delivering meals; they also develop special bonds with the community.
“You just get to interact with people and help them in a meaningful way, and it’s good for me, and it’s good for them,” said Meals on Wheels volunteer Greg Jones from Machias Savings Bank.
To inquire about volunteering for MCH Meals on Wheels or to refer someone in need anywhere in Knox County, please call Katie Tarbox, 207-701-9641, or email her at email@example.com