Recent article from ItemLive that describes how GLSS's Meals on Wheels program is stepping up distribution of meals to those in need during the COVID19 outbreak.
Link is here https://www.itemlive.com/2020/03/23/glss-meeting-increased-meal-demands/
full text of article below:
GREATER LYNN SENIOR SERVICES MEETING INCREASED MEAL DEMANDS
BY GAYLA CAWLEY | March 23, 2020
Ben Graff, Meals on Wheels manager, Eunice Lopez, (left) Kiosk Program coordinator for the planning
and development department, and Sandra Suarez (right) Senior Center director, show the meals that
have been prepared for seniors. (Courtesy photo)
Greater Lynn Senior Services has increased its food delivery and output to meet the
increasing demand from elderly clients left stranded by the coronavirus outbreak.
Although GLSS, a Lynn-based social services agency, has always provided Meals on Wheels
deliveries and on-site “Grab and Go” options for North Shore seniors, the number of meals
provided has been on the rise as more people have requested help with food.
That’s because many seniors, one of the groups most at risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness,
are heeding the advice of health experts to avoid large crowds, socially distance themselves or stay
home entirely, and therefore, lack access to food.
“We don’t want to leave anybody hungry,” said GLSS CEO Kathryn Burns. “It’s hard enough for our
folks to cope with just the vastness of this emergency, and we definitely want to at least make sure
they have the food they need.”
Meals on Wheels deliveries will be made on Wednesdays and Fridays. Grab and Go meals will be
available for pickup on those days at the Lynn Senior Center, located at 8 Silsbee St.
Burns noted that further restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus imposed by
Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday caused GLSS to cut back from providing food five days a week, but
she said the organization is compensating by providing more food all at once.
For instance, rather than elders receiving one meal at a time with Meals on Wheels deliveries, they
will receive frozen meals and shelf-stable food, along with one hot meal, which is meant to last
Burns said seniors are grateful for the additional food access options, noting there was a substantial
increase in people who took advantage of the “Grab and Go” meals last Friday. GLSS gave out 42 of
those meals that day, an uptick from the 12 meals that are typically needed each day.
“There is a certain group of our consumers that definitely still need some pretty intensive support
and we are still hearing from them,” said Burns. “Other seniors are hunkering down and coping
pretty well, but we are definitely hearing from some pretty needy folks still.”
GLSS has about 4,000-plus consumers daily and delivers 360,000 meals each year. Baker’s order
Monday to close all non-essential businesses and prohibit gatherings of more than 10 people has
also caused GLSS to retool how it delivers other services to seniors.
For instance, the organization’s case management workers are working from home, but are still
available to clients for services such as money management and psychiatric support. Friendly
check-ins will be conducted to help elders while they’re isolating at home, Burns said.
“We are on a regular call with the City of Lynn and we’ve reached out to the other cities we cover
to try and coordinate care provisions as well and share resources,” said Burns. “It’s a coordinated
effort and we still believe we are covering an awful lot of services and allowing a lot of elders to stay
safe in their homes.”
If anyone aged 60 or older needs help, they can call GLSS at (781) 599-0110 or access glss.net for
information on what services are offered. If current clients have food shortages, they should
contact their case manager.
Other food access options for seniors include extended early morning shopping hours at grocery
stores such as Market Basket, Stop & Shop and Whole Foods Market. Stop & Shop also delivers
groceries through their Peapod program.
My Brother’s Table, located at 98 Willow St., is offering free meals from 12 to 6 p.m. on weekdays and
various restaurants in the area are offering takeout and delivery options.
Gayla Cawley joined The Daily Item as a reporter in 2015. The University of
Connecticut graduate studied English and Journalism. Follow her on Twitter
Gayla Cawley can be reached at email@example.com