It’s been over three months since the World Health Organization declared the Coronavirus a global pandemic. There is no doubt our lives, ways of living and working have drastically changed. Meals on Wheels was declared an essential service and very soon we began to understand the serious ramifications and responsibility of supporting our vulnerable clients in this uncharted, complex and changing environment.
The agency pandemic plan, our guiding document, had been reviewed and updated. On March 13, 2020 service delivery, environmental and production changes began. Social distancing and noncontact delivery became the norm. Sanitizing and health checks became our way of life. Extra staff were hired, and shifts changed. Disposable and single-serve cutlery and plates remain; no longer do we share or gather. Masks are now worn in our facility.
It quickly became apparent that our older population was most vulnerable to the virus and also at risk to food security, isolation, and loneliness. The need for meal and grocery service grew exponentially as more people remained at home. Many of our volunteers took a leave of absence to protect themselves or their loved ones.
As always, Edmontonians stepped up to the plate. The community realized that without our volunteers and donors we would not be able to meet this growing and ever-evolving need of our most vulnerable people. Culinary professionals, students, people waiting for the economy to reopen, to name a few, stepped up and delivered meals, called clients, supported administration and worked magic in the kitchen.
Edmontonians saw the need and responded. Purchasing essentials, such as toilet paper or hand soap was impossible. The idea of the Essential Toiletries Kit was born and resulted in over 700 donated kits distributed to those in need throughout the city. Buddy teddy bears, telephone check-ins, and roses reminded clients that the community cares. Words of encouragement and monetary donations arrived from those who understood the need for Meals on Wheels to carry on this vital work.
Yes, our community cares deeply for our elderly, at-risk vulnerable citizens. Yes, we have been able to adjust, grow and adapt to the ever-changing reality. You have done so much, and our clients appreciate your kindness, generosity and thoughtfulness. We couldn’t have done it without you. We are forever thankful for your ongoing support.