Mission: 10K Masks

See Why We're Giving These Folks Face Masks

Sparkt's "Mission: 10K Face Masks" continues with a gift of masks to volunteers and clients of Meals on Wheels.



All of us know what it's like to be stuck at home and isolated during the coronavirus pandemic. Now imagine that's what life is like all the time, every day, for years at a time.


It's what many senior citizens living alone experience. For some, visits from friends and family are few and far between, which is why the knock on the door from a volunteer with the Meals on Wheels organization is often a high point in their day. Volunteers deliver meals, yes, but they're also checking to make sure their clients are OK and to say a quick hello during this no-contact time.

Meals on Wheels Volunteer organizer Barb Hess and delivery volunteer Kathie Matthews discuss the day's schedule.

It's why we we're glad to provide face masks for independent Meals on Wheels chapters in Allegheny County. They include the West Hills Meals On Wheels based at Coraopolis United Methodist Church, which I had the privilege of visiting this week:



There are more than 5,000 independent Meals On Wheels chapters nationwide, 19 of them in Allegheny County. All are self-funded, and staffed completely by volunteers, some of them senior citizens themselves.


Meals on Wheels provides clients a hot meal, a lunch and breakfast every day Monday through Friday, helping them to remain independent.

Despite the risk of being out in public each day, every volunteer I talked to said their passion for the work hasn't waned.


"To me it's the best part of my day coming here," said volunteer Wendy Birocco.


COVID-19 has brought challenges to the Meals on Wheels organizations. West Hills volunteer Barb Hess says demand for meals is up, while donations from shuttered restaurants and other businesses is down.


Even their contact with clients is now limited. "We can't go into to the house right now," Evelyn Vavrak told me as we delivered to clients on her route in Coraopolis. "Used to be we couldn't leave unless we knew they got their meals." The group is still checking on their clients if they don't answer the knock on the door and saying hello to those who feel comfortable coming out of their homes.

Volunteer Evelyn Vavrak enjoys checking on her regular client Bill.

COVID-19 has brought challenges to the Meals on Wheels organizations. West Hills volunteer Barb Hess says demand for meals is up, while donations from shuttered restaurants and other businesses is down. Even their contact with clients is now limited. "We can't go into to the house right now," said Evelyn Vavrak as we delivered to about eight clients on her route. "Used to be we couldn't leave uless we knew they got their meals." The group is still checking on their clients if they don't answer the knock on the door.


We can't think of a group of folks more deserving of face masks to keep them safe as they make a difference in the lives of others despite the pandemic. Thanks to our partners from Chaffin Luhana and Julian Gray Associates for providing the funding for our Mission: 10K Masks that made it all possible!




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