Demand for Meals on Wheels in Columbia spikes during pandemic

Updated: Oct. 21, 2020 at 8:45 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Columbia non-profit Senior Resources delivers meals to home-bound seniors across the Midlands area, and their services are in demand.

Executive Director Andrew Boozer said the “Meals on Wheels” program is currently delivering as many as 800 meals per day when, before the pandemic, it would top out at 400.

The spike is putting more importance on volunteers like Harold Murray, who delivers roughly a dozen meals at least once a week.

Murray allowed WIS to ride along with on his route on Tuesday.

He made 11 stops and delivered 13 meals. He also checked on his clients' well-being.

“Community is the most important thing, regardless of the neighborhood that you live in. In Columbia, too often we have people only looking at the neighborhood we live in, but all of Columbia is a community, and we need to look at that,” he said.

He said he’s been delivering meals for 20 years and described many of the relationships to his clients as “parents” or “good friends.”

He said the food he delivers can sometimes be the only meals they get in a day, as many have been made financially vulnerable by the death of a spouse.

Meals on Wheels client Josephine Hall said she’s been getting meals from Murray for the last 10 years, and his help goes beyond just the food.

“He’s been taking care of us by being so prompt. He has time to listen because of being dedicated,” she said.

She went on to state: “it shows us that the seniors are not forgotten.”

Senior Resources reports that in fiscal year 2019, it served 880 seniors and delivered 150,068 meals.

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