Over the past several months, we’ve stepped up our efforts to support our communities by targeting those hit hardest by COVID-19. Together with the Electrolux Food Foundation, Anova raised $18,000 to help vulnerable seniors in our community through the Meals on Wheels COVID-19 Response Fund. To keep the momentum going, we are excited to support Meals on Wheels America's ongoing efforts to shine a light on vulnerable seniors throughout America through the Don’t Stop Now campaign.
When the COVID-19 pandemic started, the demand for Meals on Wheels services practically doubled overnight. While their national network was able to scale heroically to serve 77 % more meals within a few weeks, our elderly population will continue to be at risk and likely sheltering at home for the foreseeable future. By continuing our support for Meals on Wheels, we are helping at-risk seniors to stay connected, nourished and healthy when they need it most.Below are the stories of Walter and Ollie, two seniors who have been impacted by the pandemic in profound ways. We hope that these stories inspire you to take action and help improve the lives of millions of seniors across America.
A month into the pandemic, a third of older adults said they were more lonely since the coronavirus pandemic began impacting the U.S.
And that loneliness is detrimental to their health. Research shows that loneliness puts you at greater risk for depression, sleep disorders, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and substance use. Walter’s story shows just how quickly loneliness takes hold. He’s always loved having people around with whom he could debate, discuss and share stories. For him, a full house is a full heart.
Then Walter’s wife and daughter both passed away, and his world was destroyed. Sadness filled his empty home that once rang with the sounds of their voices, footsteps and hugs. Their passing left him without any family connections.
At 92 years old, Walter found it difficult to carry on all by himself. Help arrived through his local Meals on Wheels program. Now, a supportive and caring volunteer delivers meals and a friendly hello. This one visitor every afternoon is enough to brighten Walter’s entire day.
Ollie is 83 years old and has lived in Dallas, Texas since 1949. She stays social by attending her local church where she can visit with her friends and community. However, she has not been able to go since the pandemic began. Without this community in her daily life, she feels isolated and alone.
To make matters worse, Ollie’s friends and family are no longer able to safely drop off groceries or drive her to doctor appointments. Thankfully, Ollie found the help she needed from her local Meals on Wheels program. Volunteers now bring her nutritious meals and plenty of conversation to keep her happy and healthy. She waits with her walker at the door to greet them when they arrive.
“The meals they bring are great; I’m thankful for that. If it weren’t for Meals on Wheels, I wouldn’t know what I would do,” she says. Ollie knows a thing or two about food service from her 30-year career as a cook. She spent 27 years working with the county and three years with the Salvation Army. Her heart remains filled with the people she met along the way.
Ollie also has the responsibility of caring for her bed-bound son, who is also a Meals on Wheels client. “These folks are just so friendly and the food is good too,” says Ollie. “I know how hard it is to cook good food for a bunch of people, and you guys do it right!”