As this pandemic unfolds and more San Francisco seniors find themselves homebound than ever before, the San Francisco chapter of Meals on Wheels — the organization that regularly delivers hot meals to the homebound — is reporting a steep rise in the number of newly signed-up clients each week.
Meals on Wheels, the national organization, was founded in the 1950s in Philadelphia, and has grown into a federally and privately funded non-profit that supports over 5,000 individual chapters and sister organizations across the country. Meals on Wheels San Francisco (MOWSF) is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, having been founded in 1970, and the organization typically serves around 4,700 homebound seniors per year — either through its food programs or daily human contact volunteers.
State Senator Scott Wiener tweeted Wednesday morning that he was volunteering for MOWSF, helping to pack 6,000 pounds of food for 450 homebound seniors. And the organization tells SFist that while they typically see 30 to 50 new senior clients seeking services each week, since the COVID-19 crisis began they've been getting between 70 and 80 new clients in the city each week.
I volunteered at Meals on Wheels today. MOW has seen a big increase in need b/c #COVID19. We bagged 6k lbs of food for 450 seniors.— Scott Wiener (@Scott_Wiener) April 8, 2020
Pls consider donating: https://t.co/LFmqCKTduJ
I also learned how to turn a bandana into a mask. Now I need to learn how not to fog up my glasses! pic.twitter.com/49uy48WhOG
As the elderly population grows nationwide, the need for home-delivered meals has exploded in the last decade. Meals on Wheels San Francisco reported serving 2.1 million meals in 2018, up from 523,000 a decade earlier, in 2007. And they project the need to grow to 3 million meals in the next decade. The organization says it can provide two meals per day for a year to one senior client for the same institutional cost as one day in a hospital.
The organization needs all the help it can get — and it has had to reschedule the lavish, well attended fundraiser that it usually throws in May, the Star Chefs and Vintners Gala which accounts for 20 percent of its annual budget, to September. So, consider donating today.
Or, if you'd like to volunteer your time, there are multiple ways to do so.
In related news, a residence hotel inhabited by seniors in the Mission, the Altamont Hotel, is reportedly having its food needs addressed by the city, according to MOWSF.