BURRILLVILLE – A volunteer program aimed at keeping town residents safe and healthy through Covid-19 has led to the delivery of more than 6,000 meals – plus other essentials including prescriptions, groceries and snack packs for kids – since March.
But with school soon set to resume and locals gradually headed back to work, more volunteers will be needed to keep many in town at home fed through the upcoming months.
Burrillville’s Meals on Wheels program currently operates with the help of around two dozen volunteers, serving 56 town residents age 60 and older. The program began on March 30, and to date has resulted in the pickup and delivery of 6,320 meals.
“Some people get daily delivery and some opt to group them all into one day or split it,” explained Parks & Recreation Director Andrea Hall, who coordinates the ambitious effort.
At the height of the state’s precautionary measures, when many businesses were closed amid Gov. Gina Raimondo’s stay-at-home orders, Hall notes the program served 93 participants – and had around 30 volunteers.
“People have opted out as they’ve gotten more comfortable going to the grocery stores again,” she said.
Currently, 17 of the volunteers in Hall’s charitable army are committed to making the same deliveries each week, while the remainder serving as fill-ins.
“Even with that many, it is hard to find people because it’s summer and people are doing fun things and taking vacations,” Hall said.
With school slated to begin at the end of next month and workers returning to their regular routines, meeting the needs of those concerned about exposure to the virus is about to get even harder
“As people return to work, I will need people to commit to a weekly pickup of the meals in Providence, or to commit to delivering meals the same day each week,” Hall said.
The recreation director said she also keeps a list of people who can’t commit to a daily routine, but are able to fill in when others from the group are out sick or on vacation. Their duties include emergency grocery and prescription delivery.
Hall contacts volunteers on the list via text whenever there is a need.
“If they can do it great, if not I move onto the next person,” she said.
Those able to help out – on either a fill-in or routine basis – are asked to contact Hall at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (401) 710-7429 and leaving a voicemail.