ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Thousands of seniors across Central Florida depend on meals delivered to their homes. Many have medical conditions, making it difficult for them to leave their house.
This is why the Meals on Wheels program is vital.
"These are very vulnerable people and most of them have no family support, live alone, no access to transportation," Kathy Fisher, a volunteer for the non-profit organization Seniors First.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, their program is doing its part to ensure the well-being and safety of the seniors they serve.
"Before I leave my house in the morning I take my temperature. I do a thorough hand washing and scrubbing up to my elbows," Fisher, a retired nurse said. "And I always make sure I wipe my car down."
After she arrives at the house, Fisher uses a chair or other surfaces outside the home as part of the new measure being put into place.
"The volunteers can go up drop the food, knock on the door, then step back and make sure that the client is able to come out," Katherine Brown, communications director for Seniors First said. "We reached out to our volunteers when this all began to happen, saying 'you've gotta do what's best for you' and almost without exception, the volunteers said: 'Oh no. I need to go see my people'."
Elaine Picket depends on the program twice a week. She said she’s grateful the service continues despite the global health crisis we’re facing.
"We'll get through this and I'm looking on the bright side of life and I think through the help of God, we'll overcome," Picket who is wheelchair-bound said.
Seniors First serves almost 500 seniors in Orange County through the Meals on Wheels program.
"Our clients are high-risk people, they're elderly they all have some underlying physical condition," Fisher said. The volunteers are also making sure to keep a distance during the crisis.
“CDC guidelines have proven that as long as your six feet or more that that droplet transmission is not going to hit the person next to you,” Fisher said.
For Kathy, it's not just about delivering a meal.
"They're not just people I deliver food to, they're friends. I come home every day and feel humbled that I'm able to do this for these people."
The organization also has a pantry and due to the high demand, they're in need of community help in monetary or in-kind donations.
To learn how to contribute, you can visit this link.