There is a line walked in the non-profit world of safety for clients and safety for volunteers amid this COVID-19 pandemic. Meals On Wheels of Barton County has been walking that line since the middle of March as they attempt to continue services to a vulnerable home-bound population.
Their success has been due to the continued support of the volunteers who deliver the meals Monday through Friday to over 100 clients in Great Bend, Hoisington and Ellinwood.
“With each announcement of a new case, or new restrictions I worry that we will have to go to a different delivery system or frozen meals or even stop,” said Linn Hogg, RSVP/VIA of Central Kansas and Meals on Wheels director. “But our volunteers continue to step up and insist that they want to continue.”
Hogg said community members are stepping up to take the one or two spots that have opened up due to volunteers who have to be restricted due to personal health concerns. She is hoping that more volunteers will call in and add themselves to a volunteer ready list.
Safety for all has been paramount as volunteers sanitize their hands, cars and meal bags. All meals are put into a plastic grocery bag and set by the front door. Recipients can then open the door and verify to the volunteer they are doing well.
Hogg said people have been wonderful in donating necessary items. However the longer this goes on, the more masks and gloves (size extra large) that will be needed.
“We still want to carry out the mission of Meals on Wheels, which is to deliver a nutritious meal as well as a safety check,” said Hogg.
Other avenues of assistance have come from businesses and individuals donating disposable gloves, masks, sanitizing wipes and plastic grocery bags.
A large concern was what will the meal recipients do on the weekend if they do not have a meal, and friends, family and/or care workers are restricted from visiting, she said. This was answered by grant funds from the Glenn and Elaine Mull Family Donor Advanced Fund coordinated by Golden Belt Community Foundation. The funds will provide shelf stable food for 114 clients which will assist them through those evenings and weekends.
The Meals on Wheels program is a cooperative effort between Elder Care Inc, Great Bend Senior Center, Meals On Wheels of Barton County and RSVP/Volunteers In Action of Central Kansas.
“These four entities continue to work together to look for funds, efficient delivery systems and food prep ideas,” said Hogg.
To volunteer or donate please call RSVP/VIA of Central Kansas at 620-792-1614.