INDIANAPOLIS - Hundreds of Hoosiers in central Indiana were left without their usual delivered meals Friday. At least a few Meals on Wheels programs had to cancel deliveries due to bad road conditions from the winter storm, to keep volunteer drivers off the roads.
Cancellations included Meals on Wheels programs in Hancock County and Bloomington, along with other similar programs in the area that deliver food to people who can't get out of their home due to an illness, disability or age.
Meals on Wheels of Central Indiana, which serves all of Marion County and communities along the county's borders, chose to continue deliveries Friday. It has 550 people it serves on a weekly basis. However, a few volunteers canceled which left approximately 50 people without a meal.
“We have 40 routes total that are delivered Monday through Friday," said Jessica Carter, a communications specialist with Meals on Wheels of Marion County. "Today we had to cancel five of those routes.”
Carter said the organization is always keeping tabs on the weather forecast. Employees and volunteers took client lists home Thursday night, in case the program was canceled entirely Friday. That would allow workers to call the clients early to let them know they would have to find another source for food.
The program hasn't seen a route canceled in the last four or five years.
The food is just a portion of what the organization does. The call always them to still checkup on the client.
“It's medically-tailored meals, a friendly visit and wellness check," said Carter about the organization's home-to-home mission. "We can still get that wellness check portion in from just letting them know we can’t come in today but making sure everything else is fine.”
Carter said each year clients are given an emergency meal kit, which is comprised of non-perishable food items. It's given to clients in case there is ever a day a delivery can't be made.
If a volunteer finds out on a phone call that a client needs it, the client's primary emergency contact is notified. If one can't be reached, a Meals On Wheels employee will work to handle the situation.
Meals on Wheels of Central Indiana is always looking for additional people to volunteer a lunch hour to deliver meals. It asks that a driver devote at least one day a month. It offers training courses for new volunteers every two weeks.