Meals on Wheels adapting to realities of the pandemic


LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Brandon Landes has been volunteering with Meals on Wheels since the fall.

“I love it. I would run routes every day if I could.”

While she would often chat with people in their homes, things have been working differently the past week weeks, as the organization adapts to increased demand and the cancellation of their fundraisers, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We now bag our meals,” she said, “and then we take them to the door and we hang them on their doorknob and then we ring the bell, and we don’t leave. We wait. And the resident will open the door and we just let them know that we’re there, and I’ll still visit and chat with them.”

Many home bound individuals are in high-risk categories for serious complications, if they were to contract COVID-19.

“I can keep a safe, comfortable distance for my safety as well as theirs,” said Landes.

Demand for meals on wheels delivery has jumped.

“We have added 32 new people to our routes since March 1,” said Kris Shabestar, the Executive Director of Meals on Wheels of Greater Lynchburg, “and about four people in the last two days.”

At least some of the increase is due to the pandemic, she said.

“The need varies tremendously, although we have had a few calls from people that are saying they would like to shelter in place.”

While they say they’ve also gotten some new volunteers, they are looking for more, to keep up with increasing demand.

“We just don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow,” said Shabestar, “and the need is increasing so much, we already needed new routes to fill the, you know, people have been calling, and since we’ve had so much growth, that is only going to continue.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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