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Meals on Wheels needs more volunteers during coronavirus pandemic

Meals on Wheels needs more volunteers during coronavirus pandemic


My name’s Dave Groom. It’s a Tuesday. I’m
doing my normal Tuesday Garden Home route. I’ve got six people on the list to
deliver to. I’ve got a couple of people on this list today that have been on
there the whole time, and I’ve been doing this for five or six years, so we’ve all
grown old together. We like to stop and chat for a while if we can, may not be
possible today given the nature of the quarantine. We’re supposed to ring the
doorbell, step back, then find a place to leave the food and
then make sure they come out and get it. There’s the dog. How you doing Ann, everything all
right? Good, all right, good the see you. *beeping* We traditionally have a number of neighborhood dining
centers that are open to active seniors to come in for lunch on weekdays. Those
are currently closed, so we are limiting the number of seniors that were
gathering together in one place. We’re doing that primarily because of the
recommendation of the CDC, the Oregon Health Authority and the Washington
State Department of Health. They are recommending that people have social
distancing, that they not be close to one another, but we’re in a situation where
we are delivering a vital service to vulnerable seniors, and while this is a
population that is most at risk at contracting the coronavirus, they’re
also the most at risk for hunger. We depend on 500 volunteers every day to
help us serve and deliver meals, and we’ve had a lot of our volunteers who
have canceled so that puts us in a bind as well, because as I said, we still need
to get those meals out to people. You know, a lot of our drivers develop really
long-standing relationships with their seniors. They might hug them, they might
pat them on the arm, they might be like three inches away from them, so this
whole new non-contact meal delivery is an adjustment for everybody. I’m actually supposed to stand back, you know, that’s the new protocol, so I don’t want to get
you infected with anything. I’d give you a handshake if we weren’t doing the
thing right now. So that’s for today and tomorrow. My brother and her sister are
both convinced that this is all unnecessary and it’s nothing, nothing’s
going to happen. And I tell them both, I say I hope
you’re right. They’re homebound so they have to have these meals because
they’ll go hungry, if they if somebody doesn’t deliver it, but so much of it is
social. They really don’t have contact with anyone at all during the day so
they’re really happy to see Dave come to the door because they can have a visit.
There’s one gal, she flashes her porch light on off and on when Dave’s
leaving to say goodbye. She’s very lonely. It’s hard. It’s sad, it’s
hard, you go to the door and then you say goodbye and you know that they’re not
going to have any contact with anyone till maybe the next day.

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