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As More Seniors Need Meals On Wheels, Volunteers Are Stepping Up

Posted on 2020-05-07

As More Seniors Need Meals On Wheels, Volunteers Are Stepping Up

QUINCY (CBS) – In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Meals on Wheels are turning faster than ever. The program’s main clients are elderly, the ones most at risk for the virus. But volunteers are stepping up.

A few months before the pandemic hit, Kathy DiBona started volunteering at the Meals on Wheels program at South Shore Elder Services in Quincy. Noel DiBona stepped up just two months ago.

“When I knew this pandemic was coming down with the COVID-19 I said, it’s time to give back to the community,” Noel said.

Noel DiBona said he wanted to help the community amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (WBZ-TV)

Every day, volunteers deliver about 1,200 meals, mostly to elderly residents in 11 South Shore cities and towns, and the number of people asking for help has gone nowhere but up since the coronavirus roared into the state.

“I think in the month of March, we had 300 new consumers come on service,” said the program’s Nutrition Director Linda Kelley.

But then people started answering the call. Fifty-six new volunteers joined the South Shore effort.

“It’s fantastic. The smile comes on their face as soon as they open the door and see you. It’s been rewarding,” Noel said.

Meals on Wheels has seen an increase in calls as seniors are no longer able to go to senior centers. (WBZ-TV)

Kathy’s first stop of the day is a drop off at Edmund’s house. “You’re doing a wellness check to make sure they’re okay,” she said. It’s a welcome bit of contact for each recipient

“It’s very good. She finds me in my normal position. In my chair,” Edmund said with a chuckle.

“I feel that’s part of what we’re supposed to do when we’re in this world – is help other people,” Kathy said.

Another reason the need for Meals on Wheels has grown is that many elders used to go to senior centers for lunch. They can’t do that right now, so the program fills the gap. They also follow safety protocols with volunteers wearing masks and gloves.