As COVID-19 cases began to rise in the state of Michigan, Michigan Medicine began to strategize on how to keep its commitment to reducing hunger and minimizing exposure to the virus.
Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels (AAMOW), a program of the Community Health Services department at Michigan Medicine, has been delivering nutritious, prepared meals to homebound clients since 1974. Team members knew they needed to adjust their operations to keep clients, volunteers and staff as safe as possible while continuing to carry out meal deliveries.
Staff was able to consolidate meal deliveries from six to three days (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday) to decrease potential COVID-19 exposures while ensuring that nearly all 300 clients still receive the same number of meals each week. To keep clients’ spirits up, team members also are conducting wellness checks each week over the phone, delivering needed household items and toiletries, and distributing dozens of handwritten cards of encouragement.
Michigan Medicine employees, colleagues from University of Michigan Health System Community Health Services and Michigan Medicine’s Patient Food and Nutrition Services (which provides the majority of the program’s meals), along with generous donations from the community, are contributing to help provide much more than a meal for clients during the pandemic.