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Volunteers Needed To Help Meals On Wheels Make Friendly Phone Calls To Lonely Seniors On Thanksgiving

Portland, Ore. – A quick and easy phone call will mean the world to some local seniors who are stuck at home, with no one to visit with on Thanksgiving.
KXL’s Jacob Dean talked with Meals On Wheels, who are recruiting a couple hundred volunteers to spend a few minutes on the phone, making a difference for people on the holiday.

It’s just a friendly chat. Hello. Did you enjoy your meal? How was the gravy?  Julie Piper Finley with Meals on Wheels says having that nice meal alone is no fun at all.

They will train you on how to have a friendly chat. It’s something they do all year long, but they are asking you to sign up now in time to help on Thanksgiving.

Read more from Meals on Wheels People

Thanksgiving meal deliveries to homebound seniors are going to look a little different this year. Because of the ongoing pandemic, Meals on Wheels People will not be delivering meals on Thanksgiving Day. All homebound seniors who request a holiday meal will receive one earlier in the week along with their regular weekly meal delivery. But we want to ensure that no senior will be lonely on Thanksgiving Day, so we are recruiting 500 volunteers to make calls to homebound elderly on Thanksgiving as part of our Friendly Chats program. As of today, we still need 200.

Meals on Wheels People launched the Friendly Chats program in the spring. To ensure the safety of both volunteers and homebound participants, we moved to a once-a-week, no-contact delivery model. While this was more efficient, it also reduced the face-to-face contact so important to reduce social isolation among the elderly. We recruited more than 1,000 individuals to make calls to homebound participants once or twice a week just to chat. Thousands of homebound elderly have registered for the program and it has proven to extremely popular.

About Meals on Wheels People: Meals on Wheels People has been changing lives, one meal at a time, since 1970. We provide more than a meal to thousands of older adults in the greater Portland metro area. Our service not only alleviates hunger and social isolation, but allows seniors to live independently with dignity in their own homes. Aging in place reduces depression, falls and hospitalization as well as the high cost of institutional care. For more information, visit: mowp.org.


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