Meals on Wheels Western Michigan COVID-19 Response
Kent and Allegan County seniors have been dependent on meals from Meals on Wheels Western Michigan since 1984. Now, due to COVID-19 our seniors are more frightened than ever before. We ask that you don’t stop now and continue helping serve the most vulnerable in our community. A virus cannot and will not stop hunger, we are committed to providing healthy food, safety and responsibly.
HOW ARE WE RESPONDING?
Demand for meals has grown tremendously. In fact, our calls increased by 300% when the pandemic first started. To ensure we are keeping Kent & Allegan seniors safe, our Home-Delivered Meal program continues to serve healthy meals, safely and responsibly. The drives are wearing gloves (changed in-between each stop) and masks while out delivering, all coolers are being sanitized, and high-touch-points are disinfected when returned to the building, route departure times are staggered to limit the amount of drivers in the building, meals are set on a step outside and drivers are backing up before client opens the door, if a driver must enter the residence, distance is maintained.
Congregate Dining Centers
Our dining centers are a way for seniors to get the socialization they so desperately need. Due to COVID-19, all dining center locations have shut down and some have moved to Grab & Go. Grab & Go locations include: Wyoming, Kentwood, Otsego, Pullman, Mount Mercy, Ransom, and Delaware. UMCH is delivering to their congregate clients once weekly. GR (SNI) Center is getting a cold meal Monday – Friday. Sparta and Grandville are doing a combination of delivering and pick-up for their congregate clients.
Once the stay at home order was lifted, the main pantry has opened their doors again. Our pantry limits the amount of people in the building at a time. The floors are marked for 6ft social distancing, everyone is required to wear a mask, and there is sanitizer in the lobby and shopping area. Carts are sanitized after every use, clients are not allowed to use the signature log, clients are not allowed to bring their own bags and boxes (we provide them) and we added a sneeze guard on the receptionist desk. Due to COVID-19, we have suspended any representatives from other senior services to set up stations inside the building. Each pantry location has different protocols, for detailed information on all locations, please visit the pantries landing page.
Volunteering During COVID-19
Volunteering with Meals on Wheels Western Michigan has changed quite a bit due to COVID-19, like many other organizations. At the beginning of the crisis, we adjusted the way we deliver our meals to clients, where we are instructing drivers to drop meals off at the front door of the client, but still ensuring they see each client to make sure they are okay, maintaining the safe 6ft distance. We continue to deliver meals this way now. Volunteers/staff are required to wear masks at all times, and drivers are equipped with gloves and sanitizer. Pantry operations have been adjusted as well to limit the amount of people in the building at one time and it is the same at our pantries, where all staff/volunteers are required to wear masks. Same goes for our kitchen, where sanitization of surfaces happens frequently throughout the day. With our dining sites closed, we do not have any volunteer opportunities at those locations currently.
Current volunteer opportunities include:
Delivery drivers, MWF
Emergency Meal packing (groups of 5 are recommended)
Pantry help at our main pantry and mobile pantries
Remote opportunity- check in calls to clients
Emergency Wish List
Home Delivered Wish List
- Hand Sanitizer – for our drivers to apply between deliveries
- Toilet Paper
- Dish Soap
- Hand Soap
- Vegetable Peeler
- Electric Can Opener
Food Pantry Wish List
Boxes – Due to us moving to a grab and go basis, we need boxes to box our clients food up.
- Low-sugar Cereal
- Low-sugar Canned Fruits
- Low-sodium Canned Vegetables
- Low-sodium Soups
- Canned Protein (i.e. tuna, beans, peanut butter)
- Pasta Products
- 100% Juice
- Tomato Products
- Fresh Fruits & Vegetables
Personal Care Items & Pet Food
- Toilet Paper
- Paper Towel
- Shampoo & Conditioner
- Toothpaste & Toothbrushes
- Adult Diapers
- Cleaning Supplies
- Dog & Cat Food
Drop Off Locations
Thank You To Our Emergency Response Partners
Meals on Wheels America
Heart of West Michigan United Way