Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Allegany County Office for the Aging delivered about 1,445 nutritious meals to around 360 older adults per week. Since March 15, 2020, when COVID-19 made its first footprint into our County, the Office for the Aging is now delivering 2,650 nutritious meals to around 450 older adults. This is an increase of 90 older adults per week receiving Meals on Wheels, and an increase of 1,205 meals per week being delivered to Allegany County residents, just in the last 6 weeks.
This would not be possible without the Home Delivered Meals drivers who deliver all across Allegany County on a daily basis. Each morning, our Home Delivered Meals drivers and volunteers report to work, receive temperature checks, put a mask on, and glove up to ensure our older adults receive the nutrition they need to remain in their homes. Since the pandemic has begun, the Home Delivered Meals drivers and volunteers have delivered additional items that have been donated for our seniors. Drivers have delivered blizzard bags with three shelf stable meals, canvas bags for meals to be placed in which were donated by other Allegany County Departments, 5-pound containers of cottage cheese and sour cream that were donated by Saputo Dairies, beautiful flowers donated by Hannigan’s at East Wind, Girl Scout Cookies donated by NYPENN Girl Scouts, rolls of toilet paper donated by Genesee Valley School and Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES, cat food and dog food from a collaboration with the SPCA Serving Allegany County, face masks donated from Facemask Warriors, Joan Ball, and Allegany County EOM, along with durable medical equipment and anything else we ask of them.
The Home Delivered Meals drivers provide personal contact for each individual recipient, even though we have had to modify our typical interaction during this time of social distancing. Just a friendly face, a wave, and a wellness check can make a big difference in peoples’ lives. Not just in this time of national crisis, but all year long, our Home Delivered Meals drivers are on the frontlines providing services to vulnerable adults. Time after time, they have been the first individual to find that an older adult has fallen or is in need of medical assistance. It is so much more than just a meal.
Thank you, Meals on Wheels drivers, for the personal touch and care you provide to our seniors.