meals on wheels responds to covid-19

Block-long supermarket lines and overbooked grocery delivery services are now the norm, a result of the COVID-19 epidemic. This doesn’t come as news to anyone.

What you may not know is that thousands of meals are still being delivered each week to Westchester County seniors by a variety of county, village and privately-run meal providers – often referred to as Meals on Wheels, with the number growing exponentially as more and more people, ages 60 and older, resort to these services so they can shelter in place during the ongoing health crisis.

Even in a county notable for its affluence, the most vulnerable may not have the financial resources to buy wholesome food or the ability to  prepare meals. They may be homebound and lack the tech skills to navigate online grocery shopping, which also presumes having a computer in the home.

Now, as always, access to healthy and nutritious foods remains a priority. And there are many Westchester-based meal delivery programs who make this happen every week and sometimes every day for their clients.

We connected with several programs to see how they were faring during this crisis.

The Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services’ meal delivery program, serving seniors in Eastchester, Tuckahoe, Bronxville and parts of Scarsdale, has experienced a surge in new clients and, thankfully, an influx of volunteers willing to deliver to homes. The sign-up requirements have been modified to accommodate anyone over the age of 60 who is unable to go out and shop. A suggested contribution from clients per meal is $3 for residents. All monies collected go directly back into the nutrition program to help pay for food and program expenses. http://eastchester.org/departments/senior_programs_and_services.php  (914-771-3340)

Before COVID-19 hit, the Yonker’s meal delivery staff distributed 800 meals a week. That weekly number has grown to 2,100. The program also provides pantry boxes and grocery delivery for Medicaid clients who don’t qualify for meals per state grant rules. A result of the current health crisis, the program is focusing on the vulnerable clients who live without helpers, social workers or other aides. Volunteers are appreciated, and sometimes hail from other agencies, such as the fire department. In addition to providing food, they also have an Adopt-a-Senior program that connects volunteers with clients in need of support, and even has helpers who run phone-in Bingo games. https://www.yonkersny.gov/services/senior-services/home-delivered-meals  (914-963-2460)

As with other programs, Meals on Wheels of White Plains has had to modify their delivery method. Previously, a pair of volunteers paid a brief visit and checked in with the clients. Now, equipped with gloves and sanitizer, volunteers drop off meals at the door, protecting clients by avoiding contact. Says Paul Schwarz, President of the MOW White Plains Board, “These are painful changes to make after 41 years of kind and caring delivery visits.” Faced with diminishing resources, the program is looking for financial support to cover the costs of extra packaging, protective gloves, masks and sanitizer as more clients pay little or nothing for meals. Volunteers are welcomed and appreciated. www.mowwp.org (914-946-6878)

As the pandemic started to take hold in the area, volunteer participation in Meals on Wheels of Scarsdale declined by a third, only to be replaced by energetic college students, their friends and families. Robin Goldstein, who manages the service, credits them for handling the increased demand, accommodating diverse meal delivery schedules, and complying with the social distancing and sanitizing guidelines. Each meal costs the recipient $4.50. Volunteers wear gloves and do not come into contact with either Robin or the clients. They call or ring doorbells, and leave the meals outside, sometimes in coolers set out by residents. Meals on Wheels of Scarsdale serves the 10583 zip code, including parts of Yonkers, Hartsdale, Greenburgh, Eastchester and Edgemont. https://mowscarsdale.org/ (914-723-4342)

Feeding Westchester also helps area residents with food assistance via their mobile food pantries, drive-through food distributions, and emergency food delivery. More information can be found at www.feedwestchester.org or by calling 914- 923-1100 on weekdays.

The complete list of meal delivery programs is as follows:

NY State, Westchester County and Locally-sponsored Home Delivered Meals Programs

https://seniorcitizens.westchestergov.com/

Bronxville

The Center at Lake Isle; (914) 337-0390

Meals-on-Wheels; (914) 787-3027

https://www.villageofbronxville.com/seniors

Cortlandt

The Cortlandt Golden Connection; (914) 528-1572

Nutrition Program, Home Delivered Meals; (914) 528-8377

http://www.townofcortlandt.com/cn/webpage.cfm?tpid=3278#Nutrition%20Program

Dobbs Ferry

The Dobbs Ferry Senior Citizen Program and Senior Citizen Nutrition Program
(914) 231-8529

https://www.dobbsferry.com/recreation-department/senior-citizen-program

Eastchester (serving Eastchester, Tuckahoe and parts of Bronxville)

Senior Programs and Services and Home Delivered Meals Program; (914) 771-3340

http://cms5.revize.com/revize/eastchester/departments/senior_programs_and_services.php

Greenburgh (serving Ardsley, White Plains and Tarrytown)

Home Delivered Meals; (914) 989-1807 or (914) 989-1808

https://www.greenburghny.com/287/Senior-Activities

Harrison

Community Services; (914) 670-3026

Meals-on-Wheels; (914) 670-3027

https://www.harrison-ny.gov/community-services/pages/nutrition-programs

Mamaroneck (serving Mamaroneck and Larchmont)

Senior Programs and Services; (914) 381-7819 or (914) 834-8840

Meals-on-Wheels; (914) 381-7840

https://www.townofmamaroneckny.org/415/Meals-on-Wheels

Mount Kisco – Home Delivered Meals Program; (914) 666-8931

https://www.mountkiscony.gov/departments/senior_citizen_programs/home_delivered_meals.php

Mount Pleasant (serving Mt. Pleasant, Hawthorne and Valhalla)

The Office of Elder Americans; (914) 742-2310

https://www.mtpleasantny.com/seniors-office-elder-americans

Mount Vernon – Office for the Aging; (914) 665-2300

https://cmvny.com/departments/office-of-the-aging/

New Castle (serving New Castle and Chappaqua)

Recreation and Parks Department; (914) 238-3909

Home Delivered Meals Program; (914) 238-3909

https://mynewcastle.org/170/Senior-Programs

Ossining – Senior Services; (914) 762-8953

https://www.townofossining.com/cms/senior-services

Peekskill

Senior Services/Nutrition and Senior Center; (914) 734-4250

Senior Services/Nutrition; (914) 734-4250 ext. 2

https://www.cityofpeekskill.com/senior-services

Port Chester – Senior Community Center; (914) 939-4975

http://www.portchesterny.com/senior-community-center

Somers – Senior Services and Meals-on-Wheels; (914) 232-0807

https://www.somersny.com/departments/senior-services

Yonkers

Office for the Aging; (914) 377-6823

Home Delivered Meals Program; (914) 963-2460

https://www.yonkersny.gov/services/senior-services/home-delivered-meals

Yorktown Heights

Senior Services; (914) 962-7447

Homebound Meal Delivery; (914) 962-7447

https://www.yorktownny.org/senior/homebound-meal-delivery

Other Non-profit Programs

New Rochelle – Meals-on-Wheels, Inc. (KOSHER available); (914) 576-3865

http://www.mownewrochelle.org/

Scarsdale – Meals-on-Wheels; Payment is required; (914) 723-4342

http://mowscarsdale.org/

Mount Vernon (serving Mt. Vernon, parts of Yonkers, New Rochelle, Eastchester, Pelham, Bronxville, Hartsdale and White Plains)

WJCS Senior Program, 550 N. Columbus Ave, Mt. Vernon; (914) 668-4350   KOSHER

http://www.wjcs.com/senior-programs-in-mt.-vernon/

White Plains – Meals-on-Wheels; (914) 946-6878

https://www.mowwp.org/

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