Despite the current health crisis, Lifescape Community Services, a northern Illinois nonprofit, is continuing its Meals on Wheels program. Every day, volunteers deliver meals to people who are socially isolated or "shut in." Now, the only requirement is to be at least 60 years old.
Meals on Wheels provides more than just food. Lifescape Executive Director Mike Hughes said the drivers are also trained to conduct daily welfare checks on their clients who, he emphasized, are some of society's most vulnerable people.
"Sometimes," Hughes said, "the only person they interact with in the course of a day is their driver. We've had drivers save some of our clients' lives. They've noticed a gas leak in their house."
Hughes said drivers are trained to make sure their clients are safe, but reminds members of the public it's critical that they do their part.
"Make sure you check up on the seniors in your life," he said, "or anybody that has any kind of underlying health condition because if they are socially isolated now, they've become even more socially isolated with the global pandemic."
Hughes said the program has made some changes in the way meals are delivered. Employees and volunteers have been issued medical masks, hand sanitizer, and gloves.
"In every delivery, they change their gloves," he said, "and they use Clorox wipes to wipe down their vehicles after each delivery." Hughes said they also stepped up their in-house sanitizing rituals. "Every hour, we get on the intercom," he said, "and make everybody go wash their hands, even if they have just done that."
To learn how to volunteer or donate to Lifescape, call 815-963-1609 or visit their website.