Food delivery service expected to resume after threat of COVID-19 fades
El Reno Mobile Meals, which serves more than 150 elderly clients with daily meal service, will be closing its doors temporarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are temporarily closing due to the coronavirus and as soon as we can get back to being around each other and be safe, we will go back to daily deliveries to the full 160 people on our list,” said El Reno Mobile Meals Director Christina Ramsey.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that adults ages 65 and older are at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health shows that 169 of the state’s 481 confirmed cases of the virus are in the age range of 65 and older, with 11 of the 17 deaths coming from that group.
Ramsey said those numbers were the main reason to shut down the daily service.
“The reason we needed to close was the majority of our volunteers are 65 and older and they are not supposed to be out and about.
“Many of the people we serve are also past the age limit so we wanted to limit the contact with the people we serve,” said Ramsey.
Mobile Meals did a phone survey, said Ramsey, which identified 34 clients that were either living alone or had no family members close by that could help during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Those 34 clients got a meal package on Tuesday which will carry them through for eight days. Those packages included snack packs, soups, oatmeal, a loaf of bread and other items which could be heated up in a microwave or made with hot water, said Ramsey.
“We have notified the rest of the people on our list that we will be closing temporarily,” said Ramsey.
On Wednesday, April 8, Ramsey said the 34 clients will start receiving a meal box from The Lord’s Harvest with enough items to last two weeks. Ramsey said the two-week box delivery will remain intact until the end of the virus exposure concerns.
“What I understand is the boxes will be a two-week supply of food. I don’t know what all the boxes will include but I was told they will have a mix of canned goods like meats and vegetables, bags of raisins and nuts and some frozen foods,” said Ramsey.
Ramsey, who was down to herself and board president Amy Neathery as far as deliveries, said the two will continue to take the meal boxes to the 34 clients and Mobile Meals will make a financial donation to The Lord’s Harvest to cover the extra expenses for their added clients.
Ramsey said Mobile Meals has also created “phone buddies” who will be contacting all 160 clients to check up on their emotional and physical status two to three times a week.
She added that any of the Mobile Meals clients can request any basic items from local stores and the organization will go get them at no cost.
“We passed out letters last week, but we want them to know if they need something like groceries or if they just need to talk to someone they can call their phone buddy or call the Mobile Meals office and I am checking messages on that number several times a day.
“We will go get them items on their basic needs list like food, personal hygiene or other items and Mobile Meals will pay for it and bring it to them so they don’t have to get out of their homes and they can stay safe,” said Ramsey.
The Mobile Meals office number is 405-262-8623 and Ramsey’s number is 405-318-2648.
Ramsey said the current plan will stay in place until she gets the clear from the state of Oklahoma.
“We are playing this by ear and when the governor says it’s good to go, we will jump back into daily deliveries. It was a hard decision to make to close down, so we want to get right back to serving the needs of the people we want to protect and serve,” said Ramsey.