SAN ANTONIO – The number of people needing food delivered to their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically increased, but the volunteers needed to make the deliveries have dropped significantly, Meals on Wheels San Antonio officials said.
Currently, Meals on Wheels San Antonio is serving more than 4,500 clients.
Before the pandemic began, about 160 volunteers were delivery meals daily, but just last week that number dwindled to about 29 volunteers a day.
“We’ve added almost 1,000 clients since this whole thing started,” said Ariana Barbour, of Meals of Wheels San Antonio. “Actually, it’s a little bit over that. There are the clients that we’re serving within our own systems, as well as working with veterans’ service groups and things like that to make sure that we’re meeting the needs across the city.”
With the shortage of volunteers, Meals on Wheels staff are helping with deliveries, which prevents them from helping more clients during a time when the need is so great.
“For as long as we expect this to continue, we know that we’re going to be serving more people,” Barbour said. “Which means the more help we can get from the volunteer side, the more people we can make sure we’re serving.”
Rudy Guerrero has been a Meals on Wheels volunteer for the past 13 years.
“It’s a nice way I can help out other people,” Guerrero said. “I mean, this is a sure way. I know there’s a need. So, I want to fulfill it.”
Guerrero has continued to deliver meals amid the pandemic and he’s encouraging others to join him.
“I’d say, (to people who want to help, but are afraid) ‘You know, I get it,‘” Guerrero said. “They may be scared, but just of kind of step out of their comfort zone. I mean, there’s a lot of precautions in place to make sure that you’ll be safe and there’s just such a need.”
If you’d like to help deliver meals, you can call 210-735-5115 or visit the Meals On Wheel San Antonio website.