GREENFIELD — LifePath has received $25,000 in emergency funding from the Meals on Wheels America COVID-19 Response Fund. The goal of this grant program is to provide stopgap emergency funding to agencies working to secure additional food and supplies and adapt to new procedures and delivery methods, all while experiencing a rapid increase in demand for services.
“Meals on Wheels America put forward an uncomplicated opportunity for LifePath and other organizations like ours to access funding during this critical time of need,” said Carol Foote, LifePath’s Development director. “We understand the review committee prioritized applications that demonstrated the greatest need, and we are grateful LifePath’s case was compelling.”
In the award letter, Lucy Theilheimer, chief Strategy and Impact officer for Meals on Wheels America, wrote, “the work you are doing in your community is more vital now than ever, and we hope this emergency funding will help support your program and the seniors you serve during this unprecedented time. We are truly appreciative of how you adapt and overcome to deliver on our collective mission.”
LifePath continues to deliver Meals on Wheels and provide a critical wellness check during the COVID-19 pandemic, and has experienced a surge in new Meals on Wheels recipients. To keep Meals on Wheels recipients and volunteers safe, LifePath has implemented the ‘smile and wave’ method, in which drivers arrive at a recipient’s house, use hand sanitizer or put on a new pair of gloves, place the meal on an outside table or pack the meal in a plastic bag and hang it on the doorknob, knock or ring the doorbell, and immediately step back 10 to 15 feet. When the Meals on Wheels recipient answers the door, the drivers say “hello” and indicate where the meal is, making sure the recipient is able to retrieve the meal, before continuing on with their deliveries.
If no one answers, the critical wellness check begins. Drivers call the recipient to make sure they are home. If no one answers the phone call, the drivers report the missing recipient to LifePath staff, who then proceed to call the recipient’s emergency contacts, their doctor’s office, and then emergency services. In this way, LifePath is also making sure the Meals on Wheels recipient is safe.
“We are taking every precaution to keep staff, volunteers, and meal recipients safe,” said Lynne Feldman, director of Community Services. “We are providing personal protective equipment like hand sanitizer, gloves, and masks; changing packing and dispatch procedures to increase physical distance between people; and changing delivery schedules to minimize contact. Safety is our top priority while still meeting the nutritional needs of all eligible people in the community.”