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Winter storm delays Meals on Wheels deliveries

Sunday's winter storm prevented volunteers with Meals on Wheels in both Guildford and Forsyth counties from delivering meals to homebound seniors on Tuesday.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Volunteers with Meals on Wheels in Guilford County spent Wednesday morning delivering nutritious meals and providing wellness checks to homebound seniors after Sunday's winter storm delayed deliveries.

The storm prevented volunteers from delivering meals on Tuesday, but they had an alternate plan in place. Ashlyn Martin is the assistant director of Senior Resources of Guilford. She said shelf-stable meals are given to clients in the fall to save and use on days the group must halt services due to inclement weather.

“Anytime we have inclement weather we do take into account the safety of our volunteers and our staff,” Martin said. “We are always looking to see how road conditions are. Of course, when there is inclement weather, it means we sometimes won't’ deliver.“

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Martin said frozen meals provided food to seniors last week on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Volunteers had not visited recipients since Friday, but the staff did work remotely on Tuesday. Martin said many recipients look forward to the visits from volunteers.

“The clients love to see the volunteers come every single day,” Martin expressed. “It really does brighten up their day. It gives them someone to talk to and just an opportunity to socialize in a time when maybe they wouldn’t have anyone else to speak with.” 

Linda Kearsley is the Vice President of Nutrition Services of Senior Services in Forsyth County. She said their Meals on Wheels clients also depend on personal connections with volunteers.

“So many of these folks don’t see anybody, don’t have any contact with anybody else except for the volunteers,” Kearsley said. “It’s very important that the volunteer sees them. It’s sometimes the only contact that they have during the day.”

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Meals on Wheels of Senior Services in Forsyth County explained how Sunday's winter storm made it impossible to deliver food. Organizers said each participant was issued an “emergency” box of shelf-stable meals in preparation for a severe weather event. If they cannot visit clients for three consecutive days, they have a plan in place. 

“Now, we’re implementing getting lists of people we serve to volunteer so they can call and check on these folks, and if they find there are any concerns, they’ll call us back. Then we will get in touch with emergency contacts and see if there’s anything we need to do or can do, we’ll do,” Kearsley explained.

With more snow in the forecast this week, both groups said they will continue to monitor the weather and plan accordingly.