BOSSIER PARISH, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The statewide stay-at-home order issued by Gov. John Bel Edwards March 22 means more seniors are doing just that – staying home to avoid catching COVID-19.
More home-bound seniors has the Bossier Council on Aging’s Meals on Wheels program working in overdrive.
“Just helping them not have to go out and possibly jeopardize themselves or maybe another person that they’re caring for, that may be more susceptible,” said Bossier Council on Aging Executive Director Tamara Crane.
They’re currently serving five meals a week to more than 300 seniors throughout the parish. That number’s grown by almost a third over the last week, since the governor issued the mandate.
Mary Alvarado is one of the seniors who’ve recently signed up.
“It helps me out a lot because of the crisis and I don’t want to go to the stores and be around people,” said Alvarado. “I’m kind of old and I don’t cook well and I forget and leave burners on… So, it really kind of save me and I appreciate it a lot.”
The increase in deliveries is driving a need for more volunteers.
“I’ve had people kind of be critical even that I’m out in the public right now and seeing people,” said Beth Waldrop, volunteer. “And putting myself and my family at risk. But, I feel like these people…they need those meals.”
These days volunteers are getting behind the wheel to make their deliveries with a little more than just the meals. They’re also equipped with gloves for protection and disinfectant wipes to help stop the spread of infection.
Waldrop is volunteering while her workplace is closed due to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
She said she’s careful to practice distancing when she delivers.
“I knock on the door, they come to the door, I hand them their meal and I can talk to them from several feet away,” said Waldrop.
Waldrop shares a smile and some socializing while making sure those who are homebound don’t go hungry.
“It’s been a blessing to me and I know it’s been a blessing to them to have somebody bring their meals to them,” said Waldrop.
The Bossier Council on Aging is still accepting Meals on Wheels registrations for anyone age 60 or older who lives in Bossier Parish. They say they won’t turn anyone away at this time. For information, call (318) 741-8302.
In addition to Meals on Wheels, the Bossier Council on Aging is still providing other services to seniors including rides to medical appointments and trips to the grocery store.