BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland delivers thousands of meals to Marylanders each day but during the pandemic, the demand for their service almost tripled. They anticipate their numbers will stay elevated as we shift into a post-pandemic world.

In the early days of the pandemic, they switched from daily meal deliveries to weekly.

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“It was out of necessity,” said Stephanie Archer-Smith, executive director of Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland. “The need had spiked so dramatically that in order for us to keep up with it, we couldn’t deliver every day like we typically do.”

That demand went from 25,000 meals a week to 75,000 during the pandemic. They have leveled off around 40,000 and have begun transitioning back to daily deliveries.

“We know the daily delivery, the hot and cold meal that they receive, the social interaction that they receive during that delivery is really important,” Archer-Smith said.

 

In order for them to keep up with the demand, they need volunteers.

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Joseph Chung volunteers in the kitchen with his mother.

“It just feels good to help other people sometimes,” Chung said. “When there’s a need, helping out is what I do.”

They are currently delivering to about 500 more people a day than they used to, so what they really need is drivers, not just to deliver meals but to spend a few minutes with those receiving the meals.

“To have a few minutes to socialize and to know the people coming are not only checking on them, and bringing food, but they really care about them,” Archer-Smith said. “So that they know that they’re not alone.”

A typical driver volunteers once a week and spends about 1.5 hours on the road.

Visit Meals on Wheels for info on how to volunteer.

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Sean Streicher