New menu, new safety protocols, new clients welcome!
When the pandemic arrived in March, Meals on Wheels Shaker (like many organizations) felt unprepared. We had a lot working against us. Our clients — mostly senior citizens, some quite ill, almost all living alone — appeared to be highly vulnerable to the virus. Our Food Director had just retired. Most of our volunteers were seniors, and we didn’t have any Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The Ohio Governor was urging everyone to shelter in place. And at that time, we didn’t even know whether or not food was a major vector for the virus. But still, our clients needed to be fed.
Sometimes an emergency is the best agent for change. We had to make big changes fast, or the pandemic was going to shut us down. We needed more capital; we needed to hire a new director; and we needed COVID-19 safety protocols.
First, we reached out to the community for donations, and wow! we received enough individual donations and emergency grant money to put in a stop-gap solution: purchasing high quality ready-to-go meals from the local café, Picnic Hill Market. This required fewer volunteers (i.e. less risk) and bought us enough time to find a new Food Director.
Recruitment efforts for the director position led us to Kimberly Homan Rodriguez. Kimberly had extensive restaurant experience and was already practicing COVID-19 safety protocols in a professional kitchen. She quickly implemented these new measures as well as a new food plan that completely transformed our menu. We went from pre-made institutional meals to meals prepared fresh daily in our kitchen. View a full week sample menu here. The fact that we are able to provide this level of quality and freshness to clients at just $7 a day makes us very proud.
In addition to new kitchen protocols, we now have plenty of PPE for volunteers thanks to The Cleveland Foundation and new delivery guidelines that keep drivers and clients safe. We offer ‘no-touch’ delivery to client homes Monday/Wednesday/Friday.
Our Meals on Wheels chapter met the challenge of our time head-on, and now we are ready to serve more clients in Shaker Heights, Beachwood, and University Heights. If we can help you or someone you know, please contact us to learn more about signing up for our meal service.