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Meals on Wheels of Greater Lynchburg sees sharp increase in demand

Published: Sep. 17, 2020 at 5:47 PM EDT
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - A ‘thank you’ has been one of the biggest messages Meals on Wheels of Greater Lynchburg has been getting throughout 2020.

“And so as people realized how important it is to stay home and to eat healthy, we have experienced a great deal of growth, especially after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic," said Kris Shabestar, Meals on Wheels of Greater Lynchburg executive director.

Shabestar has watched as more people have turned to Meals on Wheels to stay full.

In fact, since the pandemic began, they’ve added more than 200 new people to their service.

“But the need is that they’re home-bound, they live in our service area, and they don’t have anyone who’s capable of preparing an appropriate meal," said Shabestar.

But it’s not only the people that have a need - it’s Meals on Wheels itself.

Becky Tweedy says they took a big hit to their volunteer base earlier this year.

“About half of our current volunteer staff had to step back because of their own concerns, because of their own age and health concerns. And so, that left open a huge gap," said Tweedy, Meals on Wheels of Greater Lynchburg communications director.

They then began adjusting their service.

Personal protective equipment became a standard, and deliveries changed to keep social distancing in mind.

As a result, more people have stepped up to keep the wheels turning in Lynchburg.

“It has been an amazing opportunity and so many of those people who stepped up to bridge the gap are now staying with us, and we’re delighted about that," said Tweedy.

And with a new bus to help those volunteers, they expect to keep their service going strong.

Copyright 2020 WDBJ. All rights reserved.

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