04.14.20

Grantee Spotlight: Longmont Meals on Wheels

Longmont Meals on Wheels (LMOW) – a recipient of the first round of grants from your Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund Boulder County – is now delivering a week’s worth of food to its clients, on Mondays.   

 
“We’re seeing a dramatic increase in the number of new homebound clients we’re signing up,” says Katie Wiser, LMOW Development & Communications Director. “In the first three days after the Longmont Senior Center closed, we signed up 40 new clients.”
 
She continues, “Most or all meals we deliver are frozen so our clients can heat them up as needed, throughout the week. 
 
“Our volunteers who deliver meals are fully trained on social distancing norms and rules. And on the days when there’s no delivery, agency staff is calling each client for a tele-wellness check*, instead of our regular face-to-face wellness checks.”
 
According to Katie, no volunteers are allowed in the LMOW building – and volunteers who deliver each week’s worth of meals to clients remain in their cars. Agency staff place the route bags into volunteers’ cars.
 

unnamed.jpgSays Katie, “This is how stacked out our freezers and refrigerators are by the time Monday morning comes around.”

Says Katie, “This is how stacked out our freezers and refrigerators are by the time Monday morning comes around.”

Says Katie, “This is how stacked out our freezers and refrigerators are by the time Monday morning comes around.”

“To further enhance social distancing, kitchen staff prepare the bulk of the week’s meals in two days,” says Katie. “Many local restaurants have been preparing meals to help us build up a reserve of frozen meals. 
 
“Partnering with restaurants not only helps social distancing efforts today, but establishes collaboration should our kitchen be quarantined in future. It’s a win-win-win for Longmont, Longmont businesses, and those who are most isolated and at-risk in our community.”
 
Indeed, Katie explains that the City of Longmont identified Longmont Meals on Wheels as an essential service. “The city asked that we prepare a worst-case scenario plan, and start working on how we would implement it,” she says. “While we’re asking participating restaurants to charge us as little as possible without hurting themselves, we’re budgeting double food costs.”
 

“Funding from the Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund Boulder County is so important at this time, especially given how fast the foundation is able to mobilize resources,” Katie adds. “LMOW’s expenses are higher right now, and restaurants need to be paid up front … so having the increased cash flow so quickly is amazing!”

 

COVID-19 Response Fund Boulder County grants are being given to frontline organizations like Longmont Meals on Wheels, serving county residents who are most at risk of the virus, and living in poverty or belonging to an historically underserved population. Please join us: make a difference with your donation today

 

*An antidote to “fear and confusion” 

As told by Katie Wiser, LMOW Development & Communications Director

As LMOW’s staff is calling clients every day, we’re noticing lots of fear and confusion. They often have a moment of panic when an LMOW staff person calls, afraid that we are calling to cancel services. It’s clearly very important to make these tele-wellness checks every day.
 
Our “new normal” is quite emotional for clients, volunteers, and staff alike. For example, Meghan Altland, our Program Services Manager, checks on Gary every day during our tele-wellness checks. Gary used to be a regular volunteer, but is now a client. During one of their phone calls, he told Meghan he’s 80% sure he’s going to get this, and 70% sure he will die from it. Meghan asked him if he’s leaving his house, and when he said ‘no,’ she reassured him that’s exactly what he needs to do to protect himself … and as long as he keeps it up, he can get through this.
 
Another very dedicated volunteer – who many of us call Nana – is someone whom we can call on even at the last-minute. But Nana is also an extrovert. After a month of “scolding” her for shaking hands and hugging clients, the critical importance of social distancing is sinking in. 
 
Says Nana, “I’m almost 83 years old, and I’ve never lived through anything like this. I love everyone. But I can’t visit people in hospitals or nursing homes anymore. I’m afraid to go out for a walk because I’ll hug someone along the way. I just want to hug everyone. But I’m starting to understand.” We are encouraging her to continue to call her friends in the nursing home on the phone – but this is a perfect example of how hard it is to keep our clients, volunteers, and staff safe. 
 
“We have a long way to go before our community clears this crisis, and it’s rapidly evolving,” concludes Katie. “But through partnerships and the generosity of our community members, we’ll  make it through.”

 

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