LifeCare Alliance President & CEO Chuck Gehring was a guest on WOSU Public Media’s All Sides with Ann Fisher this week to discuss the Agency’s activities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here are highlights from his interview (begins at 14:00 time stamp):
LifeCare Alliance’s Meals-on-Wheels program has seen a 53% increase in clients – or about 2,300 new clients – as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. We are still accepting all who qualify, and we continue to offer our services without a waiting list. (If you or someone you know is in need of our services, click here to complete a referral application.)
LifeCare Alliance’s new home-delivery clients may be people affected by temporarily closed Senior Dining Centers, or those who may have temporarily lost access to family support because of quarantine and stay-at-home orders. Some new clients receive a weekly drop of frozen meals.
Daily check-ins are a critical part of the Meals-on-Wheels program. Five people were found in distress during the first week of the stay-at-home order. They were able to get help because of the volunteer or staff member who visited to deliver a meal.
The Agency has seen more than 1,200 new volunteer sign-ups in response to the increased need. Some new volunteers are people working from home or college students who are home from campus – people who temporarily have more flexibility in their schedules to volunteer.
LifeCare Alliance asks new volunteers to stay involved if they can, as many prepare to return to their workplaces. (Volunteers who have attended an orientation class can sign up for routes using our Meal Scheduler tool. First-time volunteers can get started by filling out an application online.) Volunteers may want to check with their employers if they would support their volunteer efforts or Adopt-a-Route.
A variety of volunteer opportunities is available, such as pantry drop-offs for our Groceries-to-Go clients and pet food deliveries with our Senior PetCare program.
LifeCare Alliance’s Meals-on-Wheels menu includes new items such as omelets, waffle sticks with blueberry compote, and popcorn chicken. Menus can be customized and options such as kosher, vegetarian, and pureed are offered. Our dietitians can work with your doctor to choose a meal plan if you wish.
The central Ohio community has always been generous, and that has been apparent during the coronavirus pandemic. Emergency funds and other corporate donations have been appreciated as LifeCare Alliance serves a growing number of people in our community.
We encourage all volunteers to be safe, with prevention practices such as wearing masks and observing social distancing.