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Hot Meals on Wheels deliveries continue with care during COVID-19

By Rhonda Roberts

Hot Meals on Wheels Treasurer for the Austin Daily Herald

Coretta Scott King said, “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.”

Hot Meals on Wheels volunteers Pamela Waters and Terry Dorsey receive donation check from Carl Jech Austin Eagles member and/ also Hot Meals on Wheels volunteer. Photos provided

Despite the fears and uncertainty caused by the coronavirus (COVID19), Hot Meals on Wheels will carefully continue delivering meals as long as possible. We sincerely care about the well-being and safety of everyone.

In order to comply with the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), we rapidly implemented significant changes to our delivery process beginning on Monday, March 16. We have emphasized the importance of hand-washing, use of hand sanitizer, maintaining the recommended social distance of six feet by putting the daily meal in a new bag on the recipients door and finally, volunteers will not deliver meals if they are sick.

Lonnie Marie and Matthew Houff, Tricia Adamson and daughter, Susanna Bennett, Gwen Mortensen, Ann Warner, Kathy Larson and Amy Baskin were some of the Hot Meals on Wheels volunteers showing the Red Reusable Bags of food they delivered to home-bound recipients on March 16.

These changes enable volunteers to maintain recommended social distancing and minimize the risk of illness to themselves and their home-bound recipients.

We are so grateful for the heartfelt compliance and support we have received from our community, volunteers and meal recipients throughout this transition. We appreciate the tremendous response of caring compassion and immediate outreach.

It’s an incredible blessing and special miracle how everything for the new delivery process came together so rapidly. We are sincerely grateful for the helpful “Snow Day Meal” donations given by the following donors:

• Fraternal Order of the Eagles

• Austin Area Foundation

• Greg Meyer Insurance

• Worlein Funeral Home

Those generous “Snow Day Meal” donations made it possible for us to purchase shelf stable foods and new reusable red bags that could be filled and delivered to recipients by several great volunteers on March 16.

The original plan was to pack bags for use during snow day cancellations, but COVID-19 came instead of snow.  Our hope was that if we are not able to make daily meal deliveries, then our home-bound recipients would have the shelf stable, easy meals to heat and eat.

Thankfully, all meals are now being delivered into the new reusable red bag the recipients now put outside their door each morning. By doing this, we are preventing unnecessary personal contact, except for specific situations when the volunteer must use other careful methods. Our home delivered meal service is more than a meal; it’s personal relationships between volunteer and recipient.

The Austin community is overflowing with greatness and compassionate actions!  Thank you for your support and for staying in compliance while showing compassion to clear out COVID-19.

Hot Meals on Wheels Board of Directors

Pat MacLean, Rhonda Roberts, Brian Johnson, Pamela Waters, Steve Enstad, Margaret List, Terry Dorsey, Ann Warner.

We welcome your questions and suggestions at: 507-438-3140 or hotmealsonwheels.austin.mn@gmail.com

PO BOX 371, Austin, MN  55912