April 14, 2020 COVID-19 Update

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April 14, 2020

I want to take a moment to update everyone on a new program that we launched today. While this new program won’t directly impact you, I want you to be aware of what we are doing to serve seniors in need during the COVID-19 crisis.

Our new COVID-19 SNP program is a collaborative effort between Meals On Wheels of Tarrant County, United Way and Area Agency on Aging of Tarrant County, Tarrant County, Tarrant Area Food Bank, and Catholic Charities Fort Worth. This is an enormous undertaking made possible by the support and funding from the stakeholders mentioned above.

Client Eligibility – the new program focuses on food-insecure seniors residing in Tarrant County. Consequently, to be considered for this new program, a person must:
  • Reside in Tarrant County
  • Be age 60 or over
  • Be the spouse of a person age 60 or over
  • Be food insecure

This program is intended to serve people who do not have access to food during the COVID-19 crisis. This may be a person who is following recommendations to stay at home during this crisis and is just not able to get to the grocery store. It might mean that the person normally has a family member who provides assistance and that care provider is either staying at home or is temporarily unemployed, keeping them from providing the needed assistance. Basically, you can think of eligibility in this way: People age 60 and over who say “If I just had food, I could cook it myself.”

Although other agencies are involved, this is a Meals On Wheels of Tarrant County program. Referrals will come in through the mealsonwheels.org website referral form or via a phone call. When we receive a referral, the perspective client will be assigned to a Meals On Wheels caseworker who will conduct our standard interview process over the telephone. The caseworker will determine if the individual should be placed on the Home-Delivered Meals program, the new COVID-19 SNP program, or whether the person does not meet the criteria for either program and should be referred to another agency, perhaps a food bank in their area.

Program Details – once an individual is placed on the COVID-19 SNP program, the client and spouse (if applicable) will receive a box of five frozen meals (per person) AND a 10-pound box of senior-friendly canned goods and fresh produce. These items will be delivered one day per week every week by paid drivers from Catholic Charities Fort Worth.

Agency Roles – since there are several agencies involved in this project, I want you to understand the logistics of the program.
  • Meals On Wheels – the five pack of frozen meals will be prepared in our kitchen.
  • Tarrant Area Food Bank will prepare a 10-lb. box of senior-friendly canned goods and fresh produce.
  • Catholic Charities Fort Worth will pick up and deliver the food to clients. Note: COVID-19 SNP food will not be delivered by volunteers.
  • United Way and Area Agency on Aging of Tarrant County are providing funding for this program.

Program Launch – this program kicked off today, April 14, 2020, to approximately 140 clients. The program will likely ramp up fairly quickly as more and more food-insecure seniors learn of services available to them during this crisis.

Program Comparison – the new COVID-19 program is separate from our regular Home-Delivered Meals program. Here is a comparison of the two programs:

Home-Delivered Meals Program
— Eligibility Requirements
  • Tarrant County resident
  • Homebound
  • Physically or mentally unable to prepare meals for yourself
  • No one in your home to help
  • No age or income restrictions

— Hot, nutritious meals delivered to client’s front door each weekday
— Meals are delivered by volunteers
— Volunteers provide daily safety checks
— Comprehensive case management

COVID-19 SNP Program
— Eligibility Requirements
  • Tarrant County resident
  • Age 60+ and spouse
  • Food Insecure. Client’s are able to cook, but don’t have access to food.
— 5-pack of frozen meals and a box of senior-friendly canned goods and fresh produce.
— Food delivered by paid drivers from Catholic Charities Fort Worth one day per week Monday through Friday.

I want to thank all of you for your ongoing support and commitment to our clients. I know you will be as excited as I am that Meals On Wheels is finding new ways to serve those in need. That is something in which we can all have an enormous sense of pride.

I want to close with this note from the daughter of one of our clients:
“I wanted to thank your volunteers and staff for their selfless effort and continued support during these difficult times. I also so appreciate that you are sending my dear mother two meals a day during this time, as I am distancing myself for her safety. Thank you for all you do!”

                                                                          — Pam
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