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April 24, 2020
Meals on Wheels of SW Michigan ( MOWSWM) is committed to providing area home-bound seniors with meals delivered to their doors during the pandemic. Every day, staff and volunteer drivers mask up, glove up and grab their bottles of hand sanitizers to go out to deliver meals to seniors at home in Berrien and Van Buren counties.  MOWSWM continues to provide our services at pre-pandemic levels and to provide supplemental shelf stable items.   
We have had a huge surge in requests for meals—a 46% increase over February.  Between March 15th and April 20th, we have taken care of 942 seniors and provided over 20, 844 meals! At this time, we are still accepting requests for meal deliveries and able to fulfill them for seniors 60+.
We are able to continue these services thanks to MOWSWM’s amazing administrative staff, site managers and staff and volunteer drivers. These committed, caring heroes show up every single day to suit up and deliver meals to home-bound seniors over an 1800 square mile area.  These seniors are feeling very vulnerable, frightened and uncertain.  Many seniors and their families call us to say how much they appreciate this daily meal and visit. 
We took precautions early on to give all staff and volunteers personal protective equipment (masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and bleach wipes), closing our building to all but staff, and practicing social distancing.  We take the health and safety of staff, volunteers and clients very seriously. 
We appreciate all the community support during this time-- home-made masks, sanitizer, shelf stable meal items, cards, notes and interest.   In addition to our hot meals, supper sacks, frozen meals and liquid nutrition we are providing shelf stable emergency meals (E meals) that are ready to heat and eat. We want to thank the Upton Foundation, United Way of SW Michigan, Berrien Community Foundation (Community Cares Fund), the South Haven Community Foundation and many community members who have also sent money to support our mission of nourishing, connecting and supporting our area seniors. Our senior clients depend upon us for not only our meals, but also a wellness check and when it is appropriate again, a brief social visit. 
We recognize that if no one can shop for them, our seniors are in need of personal care items such as soap, toothpaste, dish soap, detergent, lotion and other items.   We want to thank the Berrien Community Foundation and  Well of Grace Ministries’ Executive Director  and her grandson for donating to the personal care kit effort. 
In order to conquer this pandemic, we all need to work together as a community and we have certainly experienced how we have come together to support the most vulnerable among us to keep us all safe and well.