There are 204,000 food insecure seniors in New York. Often the "hidden hungry," they are homebound, unable to get out to shop for groceries or cook for themselves.
Since 1981, Citymeals on Wheels has provided food for these seniors, delivering more than 54 million meals so far. But this year, with COVID-19 raging out of control, many more of the city's elderly are afraid to leave their homes, even for a trip to the supermarket.
Rachel Sherrow of Citymeals on Wheels joins In Focus to talk about the growing need in the city's senior community, and about how her organization is working to meet that need. With the numbers increasing rapidly, more food and more volunteers are needed.
Then, there is this: for most of the seniors they serve, it was about much more than food. Often the Citymeals volunteer would be the only person they'd see or speak to all day. Loneliness for homebound seniors was already an issue. Now safety restrictions mean they can no longer sit for a chat.
In fact, maintaining that six-foot distance means they can only drop the food and go. But Citymeals is working around that, with new programs that have volunteers ringing clients to talk or, if possible, Zooming. And they're not only delivering meals now, but the necessities that seniors can't get out to get for themselves.