After Meals on Wheels in Longmont, Colorado resumed services for hot meal delivery, they also began the process of recruiting volunteers. While we are still dealing with a pandemic here in Colorado, they are eager to see their clients face-to-face. When they stopped delivering meals in March due to the coronavirus, they knew they would need to make some drastic changes to protect the clients and their staff and volunteers.
They went from delivering hot meals to one-day drop off frozen meals. Even this took effort on their part, which required them to partner with local restaurants to create the frozen meals that would be delivered. A spokesperson for Longmont Meal on Wheels, Katie Wiser, admitted that she is eager that they are closer to things getting back to normal.
Longmont Meals on Wheels is a nonprofit organization that offers affordable meals to people who are homebound. The cost of their meals is based on a sliding scale. The nonprofit provides approximately 500 meals a day, five days a week, and currently serves those living in Longmont and Niwot. They also help out the Lyons Emergency Assistance Fund, a human services nonprofit. They provide meals to residents in Lyons and those in Hygiene.
Since providing them with assistance, the demand for help has increased. Just in March and April, the organization received 100 new clients who need free food services. The demand has only risen since then. With the increase in people in need of food and the fear of COVID-19, it leaves them in need of volunteers to make the food deliveries. Currently, the organization needs at least 10 delivery drivers to commit to delivering meals at least once-a-week. Volunteers are not required to work any set amount of time, they can help as often as they would like; once a week or monthly.
Reaching out for volunteers only became possible once the Centers for Disease Control and Boulder County Public Health released its guidelines. This meant that Meals on Wheels could put the proper protocol into places, such as temperature checks, face coverings, and social distancing, to safely go back into the building where nonprofit meals are prepared. Since allowing them back into the building, two kitchen volunteers have been allowed to cook and assemble the meals for delivery. So far, only these two Longmont Meals on Wheels volunteers have been allowed back into the building.
Volunteer delivery drivers will be permitted to stay in their cars, and the meals will be brought to them for delivery. The drivers will be required to use hand sanitizer after every delivery. In addition to offering food to those in need, Meals on Wheels volunteers offer some connection between the clients they serve in isolation, knowing someone is checking on them. The clients are excited to have Meals on Wheels back and look forward to their visit, as much as they look forward to the hot food they are delivering.