Calls pour in from seniors asking for Meals on Wheels Oklahoma City Services
St. Luke’s United Methodist Church said it is preparing up to 500 meals a day to meet the demand of seniors needing food here in Oklahoma County.
Meals on Wheels Oklahoma City said since the pandemic began, they have served thousands of meals and the requests aren’t slowing down.
Every Friday, Wade Gray and his wife pick up meals to deliver to the elderly. The Grays are volunteers with St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, which is one of more than 40 churches delivering meals to seniors in Oklahoma County.
“You might be the only face they see that day. Sometimes we don’t know if it’s the meal they want or if it’s the conversation they want more. They probably want both, but sometimes it’s hard to tell which means more to them,” Gray said.
Chris Lambert of St. Luke’s said for many of them, it’s the only meal they’re guaranteed to get that day.
“Many seniors don’t have easy access to food. Food insecurity among seniors in Oklahoma County is a major issue,” Lambert said.
It’s a problem he says existed long before the pandemic, COVID-19 only further exposes the problem. Lambert said many seniors using their services are housebound. He thinks the pandemic is encouraging more people to learn about available resources and seek help.
“Before the pandemic, our churches together delivered between 8,500 and 9,000 meals a month, now we deliver over 19,000 meals a month,” Lambert said.
Lambert said meeting demand is not a problem. Several volunteers have taken the plunge, and they have even redone their kitchen, but they are calling on other groups to register.
“We need other churches and organizations to join us so we can do more. If a church is only able to deliver 30 meals one day a week, that just gives us the capacity to serve 30 more people in another location,” Lambert said.
Meals on Wheels is also launching a program to help brighten seniors’ day and give them something to look forward to. This is called the friendly visitor program.
For more information about the program, you can call Candice Hillenbrand at (405) 609-1016 or [email protected]