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Not Only For Seniors

By Sara Vega for The Island Eye News

When 40-year-old Joy – we’re using only her first name to protect her privacy – tested positive for COVID-19 and began her quarantine in May, she was feeling more than just the typical symptoms associated with the virus. Though she has lived in Mount Pleasant for 11 years, she doesn’t really have a strong network of friends or family close by to help her, and figuring out how to get food became a significant concern.

“I didn’t really know much about Meals on Wheels, and I thought it was only for senior citizens, but I inquired by phone and they were happy to help me,” Joy said.

As part of its Feeding Friends program, which already was serving anyone who is temporarily homebound following surgery or severe illness, East Cooper Meals on Wheels is available to provide meals to anyone diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19 and quarantined at home. The prepared meals are provided through a nocontact delivery twice a week and include fresh fruit.

The menu, developed in partnership with the Lowcountry Food Bank and the Medical University of South Carolina’s dietetic internship program, features entrees such as Hawaiian chicken, lemon fish, salmon patties and Southwest casserole. Breakfast bags containing items such as instant oatmeal, cereal and fruit cups, as well as Ensure and Glucerna, are also available to those with additional nutritional needs.

Joy said the meals were “delicious,” and she particularly enjoyed the salmon and tuna. Though she only needed help temporarily, she said, “The meals really made a difference when I was so sick and focused on trying to get better. They saved my life.”

As an essential worker during this pandemic – a grocery store employee – Joy’s recovery and return to work helped members of the community to access food.

 That made playing a role in her recovery even more special for East Cooper Meals on Wheels, which relies 100% on community support to keep the meals moving at no charge to recipients.

 “Helping our most vulnerable neighbors is why we’re here,” said George Roberts, president and CEO of East Cooper Meals on Wheels. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to care for the homebound. Through donations and an amazing group of volunteers, it’s our community that makes feeding people possible.”

While the local nonprofit’s daily delivery routine has changed in order to limit face-to-face contact, the need for meals among the homebound remains the same. Monetary gifts to support the continued delivery of meals this summer can be made at ecmow.org or by mail to PO Box 583, Mount Pleasant, S.C. 29465. To inquire about meal deliveries, email rhamilton@ecmow.org, call 843-881-9350 during business hours or visit ecmow.org.

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