MURRAY – Even when the county’s roads become difficult to navigate, the Meals on Wheels program at the Murray-Calloway County Senior Citizens Center must get food to its homebound clients. On Wednesday, as the snow and ice from the last winter storm still left many roads treacherous and another round of weather was on its way, volunteers with Calloway County Fire-Rescue and Calloway County Sheriff’s Office personnel helped the organization continue that mission uninterrupted.
Senior Center Executive Director Mark McLemore said that since the agency, located at the George Weaks Community Center, has been closed to the public throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, far more people have relied on the Meals on Wheels program in the last year than ever before.
“We are currently providing meals daily to 225 seniors in every corner of Calloway County,” he said. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have increased our meal participation 140% since last March – when we were serving 93 meals per day – and are on pace to deliver almost 42,000 meals (between March 16, 2020, and March 16, 2021). We could not do what we do without the support of everyone in our community. We are blessed for their kindness and efforts.”
McLemore said the local Meals on Wheels program could not have continued to offer the same service during this recent bout of winter weather without the aid and support of the CCFR volunteers and CCSO personnel who offered their help. He said they provided their emergency vehicles on Wednesday to get “hot meals to vulnerable seniors to every part of the community.”
“We’ve got some really wonderful Meals on Wheels drivers and volunteers, and we operate some fairly nice vehicles, but they just aren’t road-worthy in bad weather, so (it’s difficult) when we get an event like this,” McLemore said. “This is a major one, and it’s the first time in about three years that we’ve actually had to get additional support from the county, and they have always been quick to respond.”
McLemore said about 150 meals were delivered on Wednesday.
CCFR Chief Tommy Morgan said four CCFR trucks were used, with two volunteers going in each one with a Meals on Wheels driver riding along to guide them on the route. In addition to getting hot meals to people who need them, Morgan said the program is also important because the Meals on Wheels drivers also check on residents to make sure they are OK.
“This is not the first time (CCFR has assisted Meals on Wheels), but I know in the past, we’ve actually run across some people who needed help,” Morgan said. “Some of them didn’t have family to check on them, and I know one of the times we went to a location, one of the guys found a lady who had fallen in the floor, and she couldn’t get up and couldn’t call for help. But when they went to the door to deliver the food, they could hear her inside hollering for help. A lot of older people, if they don’t have family to check on them, somebody needs to be checking on them.”
During the Calloway County Fiscal Court meeting earlier on Wednesday morning, Sheriff Nicky Knight also complimented CCFR on their assistance with transporting county residents in emergency situations after the storm hit.
“We’ve pretty much been trying to defer dialysis patients (and others needing life-sustaining care) to Fire-Rescue, and they’ve been pretty much coordinating all that to keep our units freed up (in case) we have to work a wreck because they’ve got so many more people that can do transports,” Knight said. “Fire-Rescue’s been doing a great job on helping take that load off my office.”
Knight said he sent two deputies to help deliver meals, but only one was needed.