4 resources that connect elders with food during Coronavirus

Meals on Wheels driver Nancy Green hefts a pair of delivery bags during morning pickup at Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES). The SCES Meals on Wheels program has added new delivery routes since March, due to increased demand.

The Coronavirus pandemic has created new challenges for all of us. Helping older adults through this difficult time is our top priority at Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES).

Many of the older adults we connect with have voiced concerns about food insecurity. Our Aging Information Center has received many requests for help in this department, so we thought this would be a good time to share some resources that connect elders with food during Coronavirus.

Meals on Wheels through SCES provides free delivery for people 60 and over. Recipients receive one frozen meal per day on Mondays through Wednesdays, and two meals per day on Thursdays and Fridays. We have added 220 new recipients since March and can usually enroll people within 48 hours. The program also serves spouses, caregivers, and dependents with disabilities of people receiving Meals on Wheels.

Municipal Assistance is available for residents of Cambridge and Somerville.

The Cambridge Community Food Line (617-349-9155) provides a weekly bag of produce and shelf stable food for eligible households who are at high risk for food insecurity. The program is available for city residents who are homebound, cannot afford groceries, cannot access their usual food assistance, or are at-risk and do not have access to a regular food source.

The City of Somerville Emergency Food Sign Up (781-747-8198) allows city residents to sign up each week for a grocery bag of food.  Delivery is available for those in quarantine or with limited mobility. For Espanol and Portugues: 857-270-4010; Kreyol: 617-404-5290.

Mutual Aid Organizations are community-based, volunteer-run groups that are providing local assistance. Both have been active in helping older adults get groceries, pick up prescriptions, and other errands.

The Mutual Aid Medford and Somerville (MAMAS) Network has a hotline (339-545-1315) where people can anonymously request assistance from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. The group can also be contacted via email at mutualaidmamas@gmail.com. More information at mutualaidmamas.com.

The Cambridge Mutual Aid Network can be contacted via email at CambridgeMutualAid@gmail.com or by visiting www.cambridgemutualaid.info.

Project Bread has a food source hotline (800-645-8333) that can enroll people in state and federal hunger relief programs and help them connect with local resources. Project Bread offers assistance in 160 languages and can be contacted from 8-7 during the week and 10-2 on Saturdays. Visit projectbread.org/get-help for more information.

One last reminder: most grocery stores have implemented designated shopping hours for older adults. That information should be on the website of your local grocer. Some also are offering delivery, but there are sometimes additional costs and limited delivery slots. The City of Cambridge recently released a guide to reducing risk while grocery shopping.

For more information about programs that can help with nutrition– or free advice and guidance on other challenges of aging, caregiving, and disability– contact the SCES Aging Information Center at 617-628-2601 or email info@eldercare.org.

Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES) is a non-profit agency that supports the independence and well-being of older people in Somerville and Cambridge. For more information, visit eldercare.org.