Meals on Wheels Atlanta working to meet increased demand, keep clients safe

ATLANTA — It’s easier than ever to make sure seniors in our area have food. The nonprofit Meals on Wheels Atlanta, provides thousands of meals a week for seniors and since the COVID-19 crisis began, they have had to make adjustments to make sure volunteers and seniors stay safe.

"Frail, vulnerable, this group really is at the highest risk when it comes to this virus," said Hillary Baker, the chief marketing officer for Meals on Wheels Atlanta.

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A visit from Meals on Wheels used to include an in home visit and face-to-face food drop, but now...

“We drop at the door,” said Baker. “We’re no longer visiting inside, we’re really all about safety.”

Since the COVID-19 crisis started three weeks ago, Meals on Wheels is donating more food, with the help of drive through volunteer Saturdays.

"They stay in their car, we give them a route sheet, they loop around the building," said Baker. "We load their food in the back of their cars in a box, our volunteers have gloves."

It's a way to keep volunteers safe, and their job is even more important than ever.

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"Only the essential meal prep teams are in the office," said Baker.

And the number of times volunteers drop food is down to once a week. instead Meals on Wheels is dropping off more food, including two weeks of fresh frozen meals and a month of shelf stable meals. Volunteers drop the food at the door and then call the seniors to let them know it's there.

"We want to make sure they get the food," said Baker, but we really need to keep our distance."

Baker said Meals on Wheels is doing what it can to make sure that even though the food they deliver is frozen -- that seniors feel warmth and love.

"I know some of our regulars are waving from a distance," said Baker, and some of our regulars are calling the seniors that they visit weekly.

We've had kids create notes, we're decorating the (food) boxes. We're just doing the best we can, considering the circumstances."

Volunteers now only visit seniors once a week, but leave them with two weeks of fresh frozen meals, and a month of shelf stable meals. As for donations, they’re now accepting the cash app Venmo and doing virtual canned food drives. For more information on how to help, click here: