Meals on Wheels filled the pantries of over 1100 vulnerable seniors in JeffCo

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United Way staff and volunteers load boxes with three weeks worth of supplies for Meals on Wheels clients. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the United Way Meals on Wheels program is delivering three-weeks of shelf-stable meals to homebound seniors in Jefferson County.

All morning on March 26, Meals on Wheels volunteers streamed in front of the United Way offices on Southside to pick up the 21-day supply of shelf-stable meals. Many of the volunteers said it was their first time delivering and replied to United Way’s call for voluteers.

Over 14-thousand meals boxes stored at the United Way offices in Birmingham. Photo courtesy of United Way of Central Alabama

“This will supplement what they are already getting from the Meals on Wheels program, just in case there is a disruption in our supply chain or ability to get them food, said Drew Langloh, CEO of United Way of Central Alabama. “They will have food in the pantry, something to fall back on.”

Daily Meal Delivery Reduced

Beginning the week of March 30th, Meals on Wheels will reduce its program from daily delivery (five days a week) to one large delivery. During the one-time visit, volunteers will deliver five to seven meals.

The reason for the reduction of daily visits is to minimize contact between both the volunteers and clients in an effort to lessen the possibility of transmitting the coronavirus.

“We want to keep our seniors safe, so daily delivery is not the safest option,” said Becky Wright, Director of the Meals on Wheels Program in Jefferson County. “A lot of our existing volunteers are seniors themselves, and many of them are continuing their routes, but some of them, understandably, need to take a step back.”

Stability and Safety

It was a smooth process. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

The Meals on Wheels program serves about 2000 meals a day, with 1100 of the meals delivered to homebound seniors.. An additional 900 meals go to senior centers where people eat in a group.

To receive their meals, participants in the senior congregate meal program are picking up their meals via curbside pickup at some senior centers.

Langloh emphasized why Meals on Wheels is vital to the community.

“The reason we are doing this is to keep our seniors safe and ensure they still have access to healthy food.”

Becky Wright, director of United Way Meals on Wheels in Jefferson County, speaking to the media on March 26, 2020. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Remember the Community Crisis Fund

United Way of Central Alabama’s Drew Langloh announced the establishment of the United Way Community Crisis Fund to address the COVID-19 outbreak on March 20, 2020. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Along with feeding our seniors, United Way of Central Alabama is preparing for the crisis that is coming, which is heavy unemployment as a result of the economy coming to a halt to fight COVID-19.

In anticipation, our United Way established the Community Crisis Fund, which will focus on providing food and emergency assistance for people who are struggling. The fund will also support distressed nonprofits.

Support the Fund – HERE

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  • Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.