Provided by Prince William County
Staff at the two Prince William County senior centers have stepped up to fill in for volunteers in getting Meals on Wheels out to the people who need them. The centers are currently closed due to the COVID-19 threat.
Manassas Senior Center Site Manager Sue Gilbert said many of the 40 Meals on Wheels volunteers at the Woodbridge Senior Center and the 35 volunteers at the Manassas Senior Center wanted to continue to deliver to their clients, but caution prevented them from working.
“Many of them offered to help, but a lot of our volunteers are older and at risk as well,” Gilbert said of the volunteers.
Under normal circumstances, Meals on Wheels recipients get one meal delivered daily by volunteers from the senior centers. While the centers are closed, staff will be delivering five frozen meals each week to recipients.
Staff at each of the centers are also working to get food to people who normally get daily meals at the centers. The meals onsite at the centers, called congregate meals, are sometimes as critical to senior center members as to the Meals on Wheels recipients, said Manassas Lead Cook Bonnie Swank. “We know for a fact that, for some of our seniors that come here in the day, this is the only meal they get. If you deny them that, what do they have?”
Woodbridge Senior Center Site Manager Kathleen Ambrose said each of the centers will also offer a drive-up service for senior center members who usually get a meal onsite.
“Many count on the congregate meals for a nutritious meal and social interaction on weekdays. By providing pick-up meals, they are receiving the nutritious meal while having a moment of human interaction at a safe distance. It can also combat cabin fever by getting them out of their homes,” Ambrose said.
Each of the centers will produce 1,000 of the federally subsidized meals per week, Ambrose said.
In addition to providing meals, staff at the senior centers will be making phone calls to check up on people, Gilbert said. “We’re worried about them, so we’re going to offer telephone reassurance if they would like a daily call for us to check in.”
“The biggest thing right now is trying to keep everyone safe,” Ambrose said.
Please note that the Prince William Area Agency on Aging is not currently accepting volunteers. If you are interested in providing volunteer service to older adults in the community, please contact Volunteer Prince William and ACTS.
For more information, on the Area Agency on Aging, visit pwcgov.org/aging.