Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the MARC-supported senior community centers closed on March 15, in accordance with the region’s stay-at-home orders and social-distancing guidelines, to protect residents from infection. Many older adults who previously relied on lunch-time meals served at the centers will now be served home-delivered meals while they remain in their homes. Clients who were already receiving home-delivered meals will also continue to be served during this time.
To address the increased demand for home-delivered meals, MARC staff have found new resources and formed new partnerships and teams to organize the effort, which is temporarily housed at the Farm-to-Market Bread Company’s warehouse. Balls Foods and Tippin’s Pies have also lent time, expertise or equipment to the effort.
As of April 5, 42,550 frozen meals have been delivered from SeniorAge, the Area Agency on Aging in Springfield, Missouri, and Eskenazi Health through Piazza Produce and Specialty Supply in Indianapolis, Indiana.
A nine-person team, managed by MARC’s Cindy Terryberry, will pack each client’s meal box with 10 meals, 10 pieces of fresh fruit from Kanbe’s Markets, 10 half-pints of milk from Anderson Erikson and a loaf of bread from Farm-to-Market Bread Company. The team is following all of the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) distancing guidelines, as well as all food safety and handling guidelines to maintain safety for all clients.
After packaging, the meal boxes are wrapped in frozen gel-packs and covered with insulated blankets to keep them frozen during delivery. Drivers from community partners load the meals into their vehicles and deliver them — with no client contact — to clients’ homes, all the while maintaining the distancing guidelines. MARC is also making bulk deliveries to senior community centers who subsequently distribute meals to their clients or residents. In the first week of operating the new partnership, over 3,000 meals were delivered, which is slightly over double regular meal capacity.
As new home-delivered meals clients are added, a team is working to qualify them for the home-delivered meal service — currently around 20-35 new clients each day.
Individuals over 60 years of age, or those aged 18-59 with a disability, who reside in Cass, Clay, Jackson, Platte or Ray Counties should call 816-421-4980 to inquire about the home-delivered meals service.