Meals on Wheels brings much needed meals to seniors



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Trish Dancey hopped out of passenger seat of the truck Wednesday and walked to the back. She opened a side hatch to reveal a rack filled with individually portioned meals. She’s been working for Meals on Wheels for 13 years, but said she’s never seen anything like the recent coronavirus pandemic. 

“I care about the seniors,” she said of her work. “Who hasn’t had grandparents? You wouldn’t want them to go without food.” 

As the ongoing coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt daily life across the United States and world, Meals on Wheels is still making its regular deliveries to senior citizens in St. Clair County. The service has been delivering about 1,000 meals per day across the county, Council on Agings Executive Director Scott Crawford said. 

Dancey’s partner on this run, Ken Smith, said he’s had two new clients tell him they signed up for home delivery due to the virus. He’s been working for Meals on Wheels for 18 years. 

“We’re getting some new clients because they can’t get out to the store,” Smith said, adding that sometimes even the stores are out of stock on needed items. 

The Council on Aging has closed its senior centers and congregate meals sites in response to the virus, Crawford said. 

“Anybody that was attending any of those congregate of meal sites, we’re allowing them to — even they wouldn’t typically qualify — go on to our delivered meals program,” Crawford said. 

Delivery staff like Dancey and Smith are given instructions to minimize contact with residents who are able coming to the door to collect the meal. Drivers have been given hand sanitizer and wipes for their own use. Staff will also be doing extra phone calls to check in on seniors’ well being — which is a major aspect of the program going hand-in-hand with food deliveries. 

The council is also handing out extra frozen meals, to help seniors have a stockpile of food on hand. 

Anyone looking for more information about the council’s Senior Nutrition Services, or to arrange a meal deliver, can call (810) 982-4400.

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Jeremy Ervin covers environment, education and more. Contact him at (810) 989-6276 or Follow him on Twitter @ErvinJeremy

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