Meals on Wheels volunteers go above and beyond during pandemic

Meals on Wheels volunteer Frank Kemick dons a face mask at Bradford Regional Medical Center.

While response to the coronavirus pandemic has put many programs and businesses temporarily on pause, Meals on Wheels volunteers never skipped a beat with delivering hot, nutritious meals to homebound clients, many even going above and beyond.

Due to the current situation, PathStone workers have been suspended and Bradford Regional Medical Center’s dietary staff have “picked up the slack where they can,” noted Stacy Shotts Williams, director of volunteer services & community outreach at BRMC, and Jessica Jarrett McKeirnan, Meals on Wheels program coordinator.

One volunteer in particular, Frank Kemick, an employee of the dietary department at BRMC, has volunteered his time on his days off to assist with the program.

“He truly understands the importance of our program and has great compassion for the people we serve,” said Meals on Wheels representatives.

Program representatives described their volunteer drivers as “very caring and compassionate,” saying they “work to establish a trust and many times a relationship” with the individuals they serve. One volunteer has even been making sweet treats for one of his delivery stops.

Though face-to-face contact may be limited, participants are very appreciative knowing someone is stopping by.

“As simple as a wave or nod to greet can mean the world to those who may be isolated,” program representatives explained.

In response to the pandemic, staff and volunteers have been asked to follow social distancing guidelines given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including wearing masks while in the building, frequent handwashing, screenings prior to entering the hospital and wiping down delivery bags daily.

The program currently has 10 volunteer drivers, who have done everything needed to comply with the guidelines in order to continue serving clients. Anyone interested in volunteering as a driver can call Stacy Shotts Williams at 814-362-8288.