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Senior Services’ Nutrition Program serves more than 6,600 meals

Even during the coronavirus pandemic, volunteers with Stanly County Senior Services Nutrition Services have continued to serve meals to home-bound seniors as part of the Meals on Wheels program.

Joy Richardson, nutrition program supervisor, said that about 150 meals are delivered per day to people all around the county. Due to COVID-19, the volunteers put the meals in bags and hang it on people’s doors. They also knock on doors for verbal confirmation.

Richardson said on average there are between 225 to 275 volunteers per month who deliver the meals — most of them seniors as well.

At the beginning of the pandemic in March, Richardson said there was an increase in the number of seniors who called requesting meals. Due to the increase in demand, the program in late March tweaked its operations: Instead of the usual grab-and-go hot meals delivered five days a week, volunteers delivered frozen meals seven days a week.

The program served 6,690 meals (at its four congregate nutrition sites and through Meals on Wheels delivery) during April, which was about a 60 percent increase in meals over what is normally served in a given month, said Becky Weemhoff, director of Stanly County Senior Services.

On May 11, the program went back to the five days a week, grab-and-go schedule.

Despite the pandemic and bad weather, volunteers don’t miss a beat. Each day they continue to deliver meals to the homebound seniors.

As part of her senior project, Gray Stone Day School student Alayna Richardson volunteered periodically for the past year helping to distribute meals to seniors at the Albemarle Nutrition Site.

“Without our volunteers this program could not run,” Richardson said. “They just go and make sure our seniors have meals and I’m so grateful for them.

“We love our seniors and we always want to just make sure we do the best by them that we can,” she added.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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