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P roviding nutritious meals , safety net services and social contact for seniors 60 years of age or better — that ’ s what Sacramento-based Meals on Wheels by ACC ( MoW ) delivers . For more than a decade , MoW has provided seniors in Sacramento County with options to dine at home , courtesy of the organization ’ s meal delivery program , or dine out at a MoW Congregate Nutrition site for a warm lunch and companionship .
Before the COVID-19 pandemic , MoW served lunch five days a week , free of charge , to approximately 600 seniors at its 20 All Seasons Café locations in Sacramento County . But when the pandemic hit , MoW had to close all their lunch sites and make a quick pivot to start delivering all meals to participants at home .
In April of last year , Governor Newsom announced the Great Plates Delivered program to further support the nutrition needs of seniors statewide . The Great Plates Delivered program helped seniors and other adults at high risk from COVID-19 stay home and stay healthy by delivering three nutritious meals each day and provided essential economic stimulus to local businesses struggling to stay afloat during the COVID-19 crisis .
With California reopening on June 15th , Great Plates Delivered programs have started to close down throughout the county . MoW is partnering with local jurisdictions and restaurants to ensure that hundreds of highrisk seniors who aren ’ t comfortable with inperson dining have access to nutritious meals and friendly visits .
“ We serve a vulnerable population that needs us ,” says Kevin McAllister , executive director for Meals on Wheels . “ The meals and social
connection we provide for our seniors are what keeps them from hunger and isolation .”
This year to date , MoW has served more than 1,700 Congregate Nutrition participants — more than twice as many pre-pandemic — and an additional 1,400 frail and homebound seniors that receive delivered meals from MoW five days a week . As McAllister explains , the organization has taken every safety precaution when delivering meals .
“ Each staff member uses personal protection equipment and practices social distancing and sanitizing ,” says McAllister . “ But preserving social contact with our seniors has been equally important . Because meals are delivered to doorsteps to limit contact , we phone our seniors to check in on them and confirm they received our food deliveries .”
As California continues to plan for reopening this month and as more people get vaccinated , MoW is strategically planning for the reopening of the organization ’ s Congregate Nutrition sites . The organization is also rolling out a Meal Voucher program that would allow seniors to dine at a local restaurant or order meals to go . “ This will allow our meal participants to expand their meal choices and provide greater flexibility regarding when they choose to eat ,” explains McAllister .
“ This year has been anything but easy ,” he says . “ We are incredibly grateful for the support from the Sacramento business community and ACC Senior Services — they helped us persevere . This month we are thrilled to welcome back our volunteers . To show our appreciation , we recently hosted a luau-themed event . Positive change is on the horizon and that ’ s absolutely worth celebrating !”
“ Thanks to our amazing volunteers , we lovingly serve nearly half a million meals every year to our seniors in Sacramento County .”
— Kevin McAllister Executive Director
mowsac . org
SPONSORED PROFILE June 2021 | comstocksmag . com 69