In the midst of the Covid-19 outbreak, United Way of Central Alabama received generous donations to feed seniors impacted by the crisis.
As a result, at a time when the United Way Meals on Wheels program in Jefferson County needed to expand, it had the resources to do so.
The Problem and The Solution
United Way has a list of about 300 seniors waiting for approval to receive Meals on Wheels. Because no one can enroll them into the program during a statewide stay at home order, these Jefferson County residents are left without food assistance amid a public health crisis.
Mary Drennen and her company, Nourish Foods, a Birmingham-based meal delivery company, jumped at the opportunity to prepare, deliver and serve the waitlisted seniors.
“We create, package and ship finished meals nationwide,” said Drennen. “It’s like Blue Apron, except everything is done for you —zero preparation. Just heat up your meal. It’s easy and convenient.”
For Birmingham’s seniors, Nourish has developed a special frozen product line in their production facility in downtown Birmingham. They will make four weekly deliveries providing seven meals per visit. That’s 8400 meals!
“They can pull the meal out of their freezer and easily heat it up,” added Drennen. “It’s a fully finished product and nutritionally sound. It has a lot of the elements you would want to know your parents and grandparents are eating.”
“What Nourish is doing is extremely important for our seniors during this time,” explained Karla Lawrence, United Way of Central Alabama Senior VP of Community Initiatives. “Many of them are concerned and scared, wondering where their next meal will come from, because they are limited on getting out and about, and obviously if they do there is a risk of contracting the virus.”
Support for this new program is critical. Thanks to funding from Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Caring Foundation and the Donner Family, waitlisted seniors through Meals on Wheels will receive healthy meals for at least one month.
“It is my hope that by supporting the United Way, I will make a maximum impact,” stated Amy Dore Donner, representing her family. “I have faith in their efforts to provide care for the less fortunate.”
Tim Vines, President and CEO, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama added, “Now more than ever it is critical we come together as a community to help those in need. It is a privilege to partner with United Way and support non-profits like Meals on Wheels, which is providing hot meals to homebound seniors during this challenging time.”
United Way’s Lawrence reminded us that providing meals is a great way to help those seniors in need. Anyone who is homebound can call 1-800-AGE-LINE and United Way will assess them and try to serve them through Meals on Wheels.
Anyone who needs meals should call Ageline.
“It has been really important to work with local businesses at this time. Mary and her team want to give back. It seems like the perfect opportunity to partner. She has a great company that is familiar with meal prep and delivery. It was the perfect fit.”
Drennen concluded, “The partnership with United Way of Central Alabama and Meals on Wheels has helped shape our perspective at Nourish. To know that in this time of deep, deep need and crisis in this community, our team can step up, use their expertise, and serve others in this capacity, is not only rewarding as an entrepreneur but pivotal in our brand going forward.”