SUPPORT WILL HELP TO FIGHT SENIOR HUNGER AND ISOLATION IN SALEM COUNTY AMID THE PANDEMIC AND BEYOND
Meals on Wheels of Salem County announced today that it will be participating in the 19th annual March for Meals – a month-long, nationwide celebration of Meal on Wheels and our senior neighbors who rely on this essential service to remain healthy and independent at home, now even more so amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Meals on Wheels of Salem County’s celebration will include various activities throughout the month of March, including a virtual celebration on March 18th and a month long fundraising campaign with both digital giving opportunities and our coin campaign.
“In the last year, we have experienced a 30% increase in the demand for our services in Salem County” said Carly Melchert, Executive Director of Meals on Wheels of Salem County. “We have been in awe of the outpouring of support, and there’s still much we can do to ensure everyone in need of our vital lifeline can benefit from being well-nourished and more connected to our community through this challenging time and beyond.”
Meals on Wheels of Salem County has been providing meals to home-bound seniors in Salem County since 1977. The program is run by a small staff and meals are delivered by more than 300 volunteers. During the pandemic the program has been faced with challenges such as how to continue to serve, but also protect the most fragile population. “We are kicking-off this historic month by returning to 5-day-a-week delivery, something we have not done since last March,” Melchert explained. “The clients have received all of their meals, but in less days. We feel this has been an effective way to keep our clients safe, but with the vaccines becoming available we are now ready to go back to full delivery. We will not enter homes yet, but we look forward to the day when that is possible. The clients miss us and the volunteers miss the clients.”
The annual March for Meals celebration commemorates the historic day in March of 1972 when President Nixon signed into law a measure that amended the Older Americans Act of 1965 to include a national nutrition program for seniors 60 years and older. Since 2002, community-based Meals on Wheels programs from across the country have joined forces for the annual awareness campaign to celebrate this successful public-private partnership and garner the support needed to fill the gap between the seniors served and those still in need.
“The pandemic has introduced many of us to the newfound and harsh realities of food insecurity and social isolation – something that far too many seniors experience as their daily norm. More than ever, we must rally around our essential community-based programs that serve as lifelines to a growing number of people in need, to enable their own long-term vitality,” said Ellie Hollander, President and CEO of Meals on Wheels America. “Even when we make it through this unprecedented time in our nation’s history, there will still be millions of vulnerable older adults who will rely on that familiar knock on the door that provides peace of mind and hope beyond the meal itself. Please join us in celebrating the power and importance of Meals on Wheels this March and always.”
For more information on how you can volunteer, contribute or speak out for the seniors in Salem County this March, visit www.scmealsonwheels.org. To register for our brief virtual celebration on March 18th email