Forum Editorial: Meals on Wheels needs your help. Here’s what you can do
Meals on Wheels needs help. And it needs that help at a time when its services have never faced greater demand.
The program has performed a vital service for the metro area’s homebound senior citizens for decades by delivering affordable and nutritionally balanced meals.
It helps seniors maintain their independence by allowing them to remain in their homes longer and extends lives by providing essential nutritional support.
Demand for this crucial program has grown by 15% during the coronavirus pandemic, which has prompted more seniors to stay at home for their meals.
Unfortunately, Meals on Wheels is facing some challenges at a time when a record number of seniors rely on the program. Delivery is even more important now that 11 congregate meal sites in Fargo have closed during the pandemic.
The volunteer network is struggling to keep up with the growing demand for delivered meals. Program leaders say it takes a commitment of about an hour each day for those who volunteer to deliver.
Those volunteers do more than deliver meals, as important as that role is. They also provide regular social contact to elderly people who are at risk of becoming socially isolated.
Fortunately, some churches and businesses have been stepping up to help. Drekker Brewing Co. is one example of a business that helped when it shut down its taproom earlier in the pandemic. Employees, who were kept on the payroll, stepped in to deliver meals.
So please consider volunteering to deliver for Meals on Wheels. The service is gratifying — and of increasing importance, both because of the prolonged pandemic and because of the graying population of a growing metro area.
NDSU will no longer prepare Meals on Wheels after almost 50 years
Demand for senior meal delivery rises amid shortage of volunteers
As if the increased demand for services weren’t enough of a challenge, Meals on Wheels also must find a new kitchen capable of preparing hundreds of meals every weekday.
After almost five decades, the kitchen that prepares meals for students living in residence halls at North Dakota State University is running out of room.
That means Meals on Wheels has until March to find a new kitchen. The program is advertising for vendors to take over meal preparation, and estimates five or six local vendors have the ability to take over the job.
To learn about opportunities to volunteer, contact Valley Senior Services , 701-293-1440 or toll-free at 877-827-1916.
As with so many vital services, Meals on Wheels has been around so long that it fades into the background for many of us. Unfortunately, we tend to take it for granted.
But, in the midst of this long and trying pandemic, we’re reminded of its growing importance for so many of our older friends, relatives and neighbors.
So we extend a big thanks to those who run Meals on Wheels, to their network of volunteers and to the NDSU kitchen for preparing countless meals for 49 years. Thanks also to the churches and businesses who help to mobilize volunteers.
And, once again, we ask you to consider volunteering to deliver meals. It makes a tremendous difference to homebound seniors.