As the COVID-19 crisis hit Pike County, the Area Agency on Aging (AAA) was launching its annual March for Meals campaign, a month-long, nationwide celebration of Meal on Wheels and our senior neighbors who rely on this vital service to remain healthy and independent at home.
Due to the Coronavirus, AAA’s senior center activities were, and continue to be, suspended but the demand for Home Delivered Meals has increased significantly. Currently, approximately 800 – 1,000 meals are delivered weekly to Pike County senior citizens.
The Home Delivered Meals program is partially funded by the Federal Government, local funds, and the Pennsylvania Lottery. AAA asks for a donation of $3.00 per meal from recipients, but even that is difficult for many older adults.
To offset the cost to recipients, AAA initiated the Sponsoring a Senior campaign in March, asking for donations to help cover the $15.00 cost of meals for a week. To date, the campaign has raised about $15,000. “We are so grateful for the overwhelming support of our Home Delivered Meals program,” says AAA Executive Director Robin Skibber, RD, LDN. “During this very challenging time there has been a real sense of community around this campaign, and it has brought new awareness to one of our core services that helps to provide nutrition to older adults as well as socialization when our drivers deliver the meals to their doorsteps. At this time our staff and volunteers are not entering people’s homes, but they still wave and share a smile during drop-offs.”
AAA has also experienced an increase in volunteers during the COVID-19 crisis. Jill Gamboni of Dingman Township is one of these volunteers. “My husband Francis and I helped out for several weeks delivering meals to 16 to 27 homes in Dingman and Delaware Townships each Tuesday,” she says. “We truly enjoyed interacting with the seniors and their various fur babies. It is so important for seniors to have interaction, and we were happy to provide a little bit for a few weeks while other more vulnerable staff were able to get a break from deliveries. Thank you to Area Agency on Aging for allowing us an opportunity to serve our community.”
To support Pike County Home Delivered Meals, visit www.pikeaaa.org and click on the Donate link. For more information on how you can volunteer at Pike County Area Agency on Aging email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 570-775-5550 extension 1303.
“Volunteers are the heartbeat that helps keep our Home Delivered Meals Program alive,” adds Skibber “Together, we can help to keep seniors living independently, healthier at home and feeling more connected to their community as they age.”
PHOTO: Staff from Pocono Environmental Education Center, pictured above, volunteered to help with Pike County's Home Delivered Meals program.