Legal-name: Meals on Wheels of Long Beach
Address: P. O. Box 15688
City: Long Beach
Officer: Bill Cruikshank, Executive Director
ContactName: Bill Cruikshank
Title: Executive Director
Tel-952: (562) 439-5000
SecondaryPhone: (562) 439-5000
GrantPurpose: Meals On Wheels of Long Beach (MOWLB) delivers two freshly prepared nutritious meals to elderly, disabled, and chronically ill citizens of Long Beach and is looking for funding to cover the exponential influx of new clients, who need services due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Periodoftime: This is an ongoing year-round program (FYE 12/31/20)
Audienceserved: MOWLB serves the isolated and vulnerable seniors, disabled, and ailing homebound residents of Long Beach whose physical or mental health is at a point of frailness that makes them unable to shop for and prepare their own meals.
Demoofaudience: 75% of our clients are over 70 years of age, and 48% are between 81 and 101 years old. 21% are veterans and 29% are spouses of veterans. Historically, approximately 40% of our annual clients are low-income receiving partial or full subsidy of the daily program fee of $8.25. From March 13th though March 27th, we received 134 new applications for services; 60 percent are from low-income individuals who cannot pay the program fee. Today, another 10 applications are pending approval, and we expect to have more than 150 new clients enrolled for services by the end of this week, with more applications expected in weeks to come.
District: Districts 1, 2, 6, 7 & 8
1. What disaster recovery service have already been provided? : PROGRAM OVERVIEW – MOWLB fulfills a mission to nourish, comfort, and protect members of the community who are homebound due to age and/or medical or psychological problems. We deliver meals to homebound clients five days per week using a volunteer work force of drivers and friendly visitors. Meals are packed in coolers and hot transport bags. No preparation is required by the client. MOWLB meals are always balanced and include vegetables, salad, a starch, protein, and a drink to provide critical nutritional support. It is important to note that if food is unappealing people don’t eat, or just suffer through eating the least offensive items. At MOWLB, we work closely with our kitchen to ensure that the meals we provide are always a pleasure and never a punishment. It is important for us to honor our elderly, disabled, and chronically ill clients by serving them meals that enhance their quality of life, especially during difficult times when they are struggling with issues that have debilitated them so severely that they require our services. The CDC has identified the population we serve as vulnerable and more susceptible to complications resulting from the COVID-19 virus.
COVID-19 IMPACT – MOWLB serves approximately 1,000 unduplicated individuals annually. Because some of our clients need meal support year-round and others need support for a temporary period of time, we average 350 deliveries every weekday. The dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic for seniors have significantly increased requests for services. From March 13th though March 27th, we received 134 new applications for services; 60 percent are from low-income individuals who cannot pay the program fee. These clients are now receiving services. We are currently trying to add each new client within 24-48 hours from their application. Today, another 10 applications are pending approval, and we expect to have more than 150 new clients enrolled for services by the end of this week, with more applications expected in weeks to come.
Our kitchen is able meet an increase in demand for an additional 200 meals per day immediately. Our meals are prepared by our contracted kitchen, operated by Trio Foods. Trio Foods operates several kitchens in Southern California and meal preparation can also be supported by a different kitchen location with assistance from off-site staff if needed.
Over the last week we have thankfully seen a doubling of new volunteer applications, including many younger volunteers. This is critically important, as our senior volunteers have isolated themselves for their protection. We are training and onboarding new volunteers as quickly as possible.
2. What disaster recovery service will be provided by this grant? : This grant will enable MOWLB to continue expanding meal delivery to senior and at-risk new clients requiring services delivery during this pandemic. In addition to the meal delivery described above, program services include:
FRIENDLY VISIT – An integral part of our meal delivery program is the Friendly Visit. It provides what may be the only human contact experienced by the homebound client that day. More than 50% of our clients state that the MOWLB friendly visitor is their only regular visitor. The visit also allows delivery volunteers to assess the condition of the client.
COVID-19 UPDATE – Every single day, our delivery volunteers are mandated to practice proper hand washing procedures and the use of sanitizer prior to handling the food containers they will distribute. Friendly visits have been reduced in time and social distancing is practiced during the visit. We continue to assess our safety procedures daily with the assistance of the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services staff.
Care Navigation Program – Provided in partnership with Pathways Volunteer Hospice and CSULB students. This is a more specialized level of care and client intervention provided on an as-needed basis. Additional services and/or other resources are implemented as outlined in a plan of care. They may include such things as medication management and chronic illness education, additional home supportive services, etc.
COVID-19 UPDATE –Care Navigation Program client interaction with CSULB students has been moved from in-person to phone conversations and will remain so until further notice. Pathways professional staff have increased phones contacts with MOWLB clients, limited in-home visits with MOWLB clients and precautionary measures, i.e. social distancing, hand sanitizing, gloves and masks are practiced when in contact with a client.
CONTINGENCY PLANNING – We are actively sourcing shelf-stable meals in case we need to shift from daily freshly made meal delivery. This would most likely occur in the event of a client, volunteer, MOWLB staff member or Trio Food staff member testing positive for COVID-19, at which time we would be guided by the Health Department regarding next steps. UPS has generously offered to provide a no cost truck and driver for this contingency, and we are working now to finalize the terms of this generous offer. We do have some clients whose state of infirmity would prevent them from bringing their shelf-stable meals inside and some who would struggle with the packaging. We are exploring the best options for supporting these clients. A possible solution would be to provide them with volunteer support combined with the shelf-stable meal delivery. This shift in services would also require extensive phone support to confirm deliveries, as they would be left by the door, whereas currently, our friendly volunteer brings the meals inside. This is a last resort, but we do need to have it in place to implement with no additional time lapse if needed.
3. What individuals (and/or organizations) will you assist? : MOWLB assists homebound isolated elderly, ill, disabled community members whose physical or mental health is at a point of frailness that makes them unable to shop for and prepare their own meals. If left to fend for themselves, they subsist on inadequate meals or snacks with little or no nutritional value. This contributes to unnecessary weight loss, declining overall health, and an inability to regain health and strength after an illness or medical procedure. By providing (1) fully prepared meals with the nutrition and calories needed for health; (2) a friendly visit, during which the MOWLB volunteer may notice a decline in health; and (3) support with basic but important tasks, MOWLB enables vulnerable Long Beach residents to age in place and avoid food insecurity or hunger. Most MOWLB clients are hungry and eat immediately upon delivery, usually starting with the hot “dinner” and saving the cold lunch for later.
With the current COVID-19 outbreak and the warnings of its effects on the more vulnerable elderly and chronically ill, the numbers of homebound isolated elderly are staggering. MOWLB is the only meal delivery provider in the greater Long Beach area with the capacity to serve 350+ homebound residents per day. We deliver meals to every zip code in Long Beach and many of our clients reside in lower income neighborhoods, such as downtown Long Beach.
Unfortunately, with the current guidelines during the COVID-19 outbreak, while our clients continue to benefit from the albeit shortened, social interaction of our visits during the meal delivery, this aspect of our work is necessarily reduced until this pandemic is contained. Our volunteers continue to practice precautionary measures, i.e. social distancing, hand sanitizing, gloves and masks when delivering. We continue to assess our safety procedures daily with the assistance of the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services staff.
4. What other disaster recovery funds have you received? What amount?: The Green Foundation has provided emergency funds totaling $12,500 in addition their December grant award of $20,000. The Molina Foundation has provided an in-kind gift of 500 bottles of travel size hand sanitizer for our delivery volunteers. SuperCare Health is providing an ongoing supply of approved face masks for use by volunteers & staff. We are not funded by government grants or contracts.
5. What other disaster recovery funds have you applied for? MOWLB continues seeking funding requests from foundation partners, and we have increased the amounts requested from our longtime foundation partners. We have been in communication with Supervisor Hahn’s office, but we do not have FEMA assistance or other federal, state, and local assistance at this time.