Meals on Wheels programs in Tri-State, U.S. see increase in demand

Coronavirus Watch Kentucky

OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) Programs delivering free lunches or dinners to seniors across the country are seeing an increase in demand.

Meals On Wheels says nearly four out of five programs nationwide doubled the number of meals delivered since the pandemic began. It’s a trend noticed by some Tri-State programs.

The line outside the Senior Community Center of Owensboro-Daviess County for their Grab-and-Go program has gotten longer.

“I’d say we had on average 30 or 40. Now, it’s well just over 60 at site,” said Dana Peveler, Exec. Director for the center. “We had one, Park Regency, they increased serving days because demand was so high.”

Peveler says the number of meals went from an average of about 288 to as high as 638 in one day. The demand rose after hot meals to people 60 and older were provided as part of the state’s “Healthy at Home” initiative.

“What I think people found is that is it’s nice to have somebody visit you, even if it’s just to hand you a meal or put a meal outside a door, knock on your door and make sure you get it. it’s somebody coming in to your home checking on you making sure you are O.K.,” she said.

“I appreciate it during this time,” adds Thelma Matthews. She is one of many seniors who gets those meals delivered to her front door.

“It can reach out to so many people. I think it made the whole community aware of what’s going on,” she says.

Peveler says the effort to keep providing these meals to everyone who needs them includes local programs and companies to help cook and prepare the food. Owensboro Health and the Green River Area Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund are among those helping provide food and pay delivery related costs.

“We know we will be in this for the long haul. I hope our clients know we are in this for the long haul,” says Peveler.

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(This story was originally published on May 12, 2020)

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