The Visiting Nurse Association, the organization behind Meals on Wheels in Dallas County, says it is in need of volunteers and fans as summer temperatures heat up.
The organization delivers meals to 4,500 homebound clients and serves food to another 1,500 people at senior centers across the county.
"We deliver so much more than a meal," said Jennifer Austin with the Visiting Nurse Association. "Sometimes we’re the only people one of our clients might see during the day. We are providing that social connection to reduce isolation [and] to make sure they’re OK."
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Texas in March 2020, Meals on Wheels services never stopped, but their deliveries were limited to one day a week and were done only by staff members.
Austin said they now deliver three days a week with the plan to deliver five days a week again come October, but they are in need of volunteers.
"For every meal that’s delivered by a volunteer in lieu of a paid driver, we can feed someone for a week, so it’s really critical," Austin said.
The need for volunteers comes as the demand for their services grows during the pandemic. Austin said they currently have a waitlist of 400 people requesting their services.
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"For those that were right on the edge, we just saw the need grow so much more, we anticipate that will continue," Austin said. "The need has grown more than ever before."
The VNA has also been partnering with the city of Dallas and other organizations to provide homebound residents a COVID-19 and flu vaccine. To date, they've vaccinated 1100 people.
The VNA is hosting a box fan drive so they can provide free fans to clients this summer.
Online monetary donations are encouraged or you can purchase a fan directly off the VNA's Amazon Wishlist. You can also drop off a new box fan at their Haggerty Kitchen location at 1440 W. Mockingbird Lane, Dallas between 9am - 3pm on Fridays.
To volunteer or learn more about their services, visit vnatexas.org.