Volunteers deliver back-up meals for at-risk older adults

Volunteer Sasi Muthurajan packs boxes of shelf stable meals for delivery at Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services on July 29. SCES PHOTO

Volunteers braved a heatwave on July 27 to help Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES) deliver 840 shelf-stable meals to older adults at risk for food insecurity.

The meals were provided by the Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) and distributed to 120 households by a dozen SCES volunteers. SCES Nutrition Director Meghan Ostrander thanked everyone who turned out to help, saying the extra food will help some of their neighbors prepare for the unexpected.

“One benefit of these meals is that they don’t require refrigeration,” said Ostrander. “Many clients have homes with small freezers and can’t store extra meals. If there is a severe weather event and clients can’t get out or lose power, they will have seven meals on hand.”

Meglu Yang prepares to deliver boxes of shelf-stable meals for Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services. Each box contains seven meals.

SCES Nutrition programs have been in demand throughout the pandemic. Referrals to Meals on Wheels have increased by 20 percent since March, with the program providing approximately 1,100 meals per day. SCES has also delivered more than 8,500 frozen and shelf-stable backup meals for at-risk older adults.

The following volunteers helped with the delivery: Pamela Hersch Gonzalez, Colin Kirkland, Meglu Yang, Leslie Davis, Jose Gallegos, Zoe Land, Caitlin Mugford, Sasi Siddharth Muthurajan, Joelle Renstrom, Anne Taylor, and Michelle Mazzola.

Kirkland, of Somerville, was one of four first-time volunteers that day. He heard about SCES Volunteer Programs online, and thought it would be a good use of some free time.

“I work in the restaurant industry, and we are not too busy right now, so I thought it would be nice to help out,” he said.

To learn more about SCES Nutrition Programs, call the SCES Aging Information Center at 617-628-2601 or email info@eldercare.org. For more information about volunteering with SCES, call 617-628-2601, x3214 or e-mail vol@eldercare.org.