Agencies need more volunteers to help during holidays amid COVID-19 pandemic

Opportunities include 2 well-known services that provide thousands of free meals every single week
Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 Pandemic, that has not stopped many people from...
Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 Pandemic, that has not stopped many people from volunteering their time and effort to help those needing a hand up.((Source: KSLA))
Published: Nov. 23, 2020 at 9:49 PM CST
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — The COVID-19 pandemic has not stopped many people from volunteering their time and effort to help those needing a hand up.

That includes two well-known services that provide thousands of free meals every single week to people of the Shreveport-Bossier City area of Northwest Louisiana.

One is Meals on Wheels, a program run through the Caddo Council on Aging. And the other is Christian Service.

For its part, Meals on Wheels of Caddo Parish serves 1,100 senior citizens, making deliveries Monday through Thursday.

And during this pandemic, each senior citizen now is receiving six meals a week with the intention of reducing the amount of groceries they’ll need to get on their own.

We caught up with longtime Meals on Wheels delivery driver John Clay on Monday morning.

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He is one of the 15 drivers, assisted by 150 volunteers, who help deliver those meals. And Clay said they are always looking for more volunteers, particularly during the holidays, who have a lot of patience.

“You can’t be in a rush on a job like this because you never know what people out here want to hear or need to hear to keep them going because a lot of them don’t even get a visit a day from their relatives.”

We caught up with Clay halfway through his route that has 92 stops along the way Monday through Thursday.

He said the senior citizens on his list will receive their Thanksgiving meal the day before.

Clients on the meals list, including Lucious Thomas, describe this service as critical for them.

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“Because I don’t know what I’d do without ya’ll. Being in this wheelchair be real hard for me to try to cook.”

Days before Thanksgiving, we met some seniors citizens already giving thanks.

“For life. For health. For Mr. John. And for people that work with Mr. John that pay the bills,” Alvin Holmes said.

“And Meals on Wheels has been a great deal. Grateful; I’ve been grateful.”

Meals on Wheels officials said they hope people may come across stories like this one and call the Caddo Council on Aging to sign up and help out.

Volunteers play a critical role for so many other causes and charities. And COVID-19 has changed things this year.

Christian Service prides itself on serving meals every day except Christmas. And this year is no exception. That’s despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

But Alvin Moore said it does mean no one will be eating inside.

“We’ll be doing our Thanksgiving dinner from 11 to 1,” the Christian Service executive director explained. “The only thing’s that changed is the hours. And we’re still doing to-go plates. Anyone can come and get a hot meal Thanksgiving Day.”

Christian Service is providing upwards of 1,500-1,600 meals a week, which translates into 200 meals every single day as the need for food surges amid the pandemic, Moore said.

With all these meals served, Christian Service needs volunteers now more than ever. But the pandemic has changed everything this year.

“Normally, we have volunteers seven days a week. Different organizations come in,” Moore said. “But with us trying to keep our staff safe, we’re not doing volunteers this year because of the pandemic.”

There still are ways to help. If interested, you’re urged to call in.

The need is great when you consider that 7,000 meals a month are served at Christian Service.

Those who rely on them are very glad the service is available.

Those wanting to volunteer for Thanksgiving itself, there cannot be any serving of the meals. But there’s still plenty of work with which they can help. Call Christian Service at (318) 221-4857 or click here to learn more.

Copyright 2020 KSLA. All rights reserved.