KCMO's Meals on Wheels sees dramatic spike in need
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — At 10:30 a.m. every Thursday, Greg Davis hops in his car and drives up and down Troost Avenue from 55th Street to 75th Street, stopping at specific homes to deliver hot and frozen meals.
“For me, it was a way to give back,” said Davis, who has been doing this for eight years.
Davis is a board member of Shepherd’s Center. He also is a volunteer driver for Meals on Wheels, which has seen a spike in the number of people needing help.
“That need already existed, it’s not a new need. It’s just new attention on that need,” said Janet Baker, executive director of Shepard’s Center.
At the beginning of the year the nonprofit organization was delivering meals to about 50 individuals on a weekly basis, according to Baker. As the pandemic unfolded, more seniors found themselves homebound so the number of clients the Shepherd’s Center served also grew.
Now, they are delivering hot and frozen meals to about 400 individuals in Kansas City, Missouri, every week.
But Baker said she worries about the coming months.
“The thing that scares me the most about 2021 is when we start losing interest in the current event in the pandemic, and our attention drifts to other things," she said. "Those things have not changed."
It’s not just meals that are being delivered, either. For many homebound residents, the weekly meal drop-offs are the only time they get to socialize.
“It’s so much more than a meal, it’s an interaction,” Davis said. “When I’m delivering my meals, one of the things I am thinking about is how is this person doing.”
To continue to help meet demands, Shepherd’s Center needs monetary assistance. According to Baker, it costs about $15,000 per month to cover the salaries of Meals on Wheels staff, gas, vehicle maintenance and other expenses.
Donations can be made on the Shepherd's Center website.