Meals on Wheels needs ‘friendly chatters’ for Thanksgiving

Meals on Wheels People is still searching for 200 volunteer “friendly chatters” to help homebound seniors feel less lonely this Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving meal deliveries to homebound seniors are going to look a little different this year. Because of the ongoing pandemic, Meals on Wheels People will not be delivering meals on Thanksgiving Day. All homebound seniors who request a holiday meal will receive one earlier in the week with their regular weekly meal delivery.

To ensure that no senior will be lonely on Thanksgiving Day, Meals on Wheels People decided to recruit 500 volunteers to make calls to homebound elderly on Thanksgiving as part of its Friendly Chats program. As of this newspaper’s print deadline, the group was still in need of 200 volunteers.

Meals on Wheels People launched the Friendly Chats program in the spring. To ensure the safety of both volunteers and homebound participants, the organization moved to a once-a-week, no-contact delivery model. While this was more efficient, it also reduced the face-to-face contact so important to reduce social isolation among the elderly, so Meals on Wheels recruited more than 1,000 individuals to make calls to homebound participants once or twice a week just to chat. Thousands of homebound elderly have registered for the program.