Monroe County Meals On Wheels is doubling its space at its Stroud Township headquarters.
They say the new storage space will help volunteers as well.
Executive Director Heidi Fareri of Monroe County Meals On Wheels says, "We’ve been making the volunteers wait out in their cars and use a portable toilet this summer, and we really don’t want to subject them to that in the winter weather."
Volunteers at Monroe County Meals On Wheels will once again be invited inside to wait for their containers for their deliveries. The volunteers will be able to safely distance themselves while remaining separate from staff in the recently vacated space next to their headquarters within the Hickory Valley Plaza on Business Route 209.
Heidi says, "This space will allow us to put chairs more than six feet apart for them to wait. We are going to do an intercom system to let them know that they’re meals are ready to load up in their vehicles and there are two internal bathrooms."
The pandemic has also increased the number of meals needed for homebound residents so the extra room will help out a lot. They currently have over 500 clients and they don’t expect that number to decrease.
Heidi says, "Many of the people that came on service during Covid are still on service, and we discovered many of them really needed our service to begin with."
Their pet program is also growing and will now have its own necessary designated location. The program was started to make sure clients weren’t sharing their meals with their pets. They’re now serving 81 cats and dogs donated food which is more than a 50 percent increase from two years ago.
Pet Program Coordinator Stacey Koeck of Monroe County Meals On Wheels says, "We’re kind of sharing space with our food delivery area and time-wise and space-wise that caused a bunch on conflicts. So this will be a dedicated space, we’ll have shelving, we’ll have a place to pack the orders for our clients."
Plus it’ll provide them necessary storage areas so they can keep their records on site and be less cluttered allowing for better organization.
Heidi says, "Gifts for our clients, usually for birthdays and Christmas. We accumulate that throughout the year so it’s not a burden all at one time. We have various things left over from fundraisers."
The landlord is working with the nonprofit to be able to take-on the extra lease and the nonprofit was recently able to save money through renegotiating meal contracts with outside providers. But there’s no money leftover to give it a makeover.
Heidi says, "If we can get volunteers at some point who like to paint walls, we’ll paint some walls but other than that this sort of wide open space is perfectly fine for what we need right now."
The nonprofit will start moving into this space as soon as the alarm system is set up.