Since the COVID-19 pandemic closed the Senior Activity Center early this year, many folks don’t have the same amount of social interaction.
Amanda Miller, Anacortes site director for the Meals on Wheels program, has heard from volunteer drivers that clients are feeling more isolated than ever.
This was also of concern to Miller’s 6-year-old daughter Daisy, who immediately began writing cards and drawing pictures for the seniors last month. This inspired Miller to recruit some other children to join the effort, and now the project is open to the public.
“The innocence of kids just melts me,” she said.
Ruby Murray, 93, was a recipient of Daisy’s artwork.
“It’s awfully cute, and it makes me smile,” Murray said, noting that the art is hanging on her refrigerator for her to see throughout the day. Murray used to volunteer at the Senior Center, picking up dishes, but now that it’s closed she doesn’t see many people, and her family lives out of town.
“It’s been terrible; I’ve been lonesome,” she said. So Murray appreciates small gestures like the pictures.
“I couldn’t draw a stick man,” she said.
Meals on Wheels clients are people over age 60 who need assistance to leave home.
Missy Walsh-Smith began to make cards to give to the program after her mother received a picture by one of the children with her meal delivery.
“It brought her so much joy,” Walsh-Smith wrote to Miller.
Miller has already received more works of art for the people enrolled in Meals on Wheels program. The number of clients the program delivers meals to has fluctuated throughout the pandemic. Right now, that number is 72.
The Meals on Wheels program cooks meals in the Senior Activity Center kitchen on weekdays and delivers them right to each client’s door. While the program is organized by the county, it is mostly run by volunteers, though many had to stop when the pandemic began. However, other volunteers quickly stepped up, Miller said. The program now has 29 active volunteer drivers and eight kitchen volunteers.
The program has taken safety precautions against the coronavirus in addition to mask-wearing, such as limiting the number of volunteers in the kitchen and limiting contact between the kitchen and delivery volunteers.
Meals are made every weekday with frozen meals also available for pickup.
Group meals that were served inside the Senior Activity Center are postponed until further notice.
Meanwhile, a basket sits out front of the Senior Activity Center for local artists of all ages and skill levels to contribute positive messages and art pieces to be delivered with a warm meal to area seniors.