Meals on Wheels of the Monterey Peninsula recently issued an urgent call for volunteers in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. What happened next even surprised the Meals on Wheels staff.
Jacob Shafer, the program’s development director, said, "The response was tremendous.”
He said as soon as the call went out, they began hearing from people wanting to volunteer. More than 100 have signed up so far.
“We're continuing to hear everyday. Over the weekend, people are emailing in late at night saying, you know, that they’re either on furlough or currently out of work and they’re willing to lend a hand," Shafer said.
In other words, they are willing to put the community ahead of their own concerns. Shafer says the program, which delivers meals to seniors, has seen a 15 percent increase in need in the last few weeks. Volunteers are now delivering 300 to 400 meals a day.
The meals that were served daily to those 60 and over at the Sally Griffin Senior Center in Pacific Center have been suspended. There is, however, an alternative.
“We are offering pick-up and to-go meals for anybody who’d like to come by the center between 11am and 12pm, Monday through Friday,” Shafer said.
Meals on Wheels of the Monterey Peninsula is just one of a few programs that still delivers hot meals made daily in its own kitchen. That means more pressure on an already stretched budget.
The same is true for Santa Cruz County Meals on Wheels. It has seen a 25 percent increase in deliveries.
Meals on Wheels of the Salinas Valley has seen a 15 to 20 percent increase in deliveries.