The COVID-19 pandemic drastically increased the need for home-delivered meals across our service region. For much of 2020 and the start of 2021, Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland (MOWCM), delivered frozen meal boxes once a week to keep up with demand. Because in-person wellness visits and daily check-ins were not possible, the Call Connections program was started. In this program, clients are matched with a consistent volunteer for twice weekly phone calls- reducing the loneliness exacerbated by the pandemic for both parties. Now that we are back to daily meal deliveries, the program continues! Silvia and Michael are a wonderful example of this program’s success.

Several decades ago, Silvia came to the United States to obtain her PhD. After working as a scientist for over 25 years, Silvia retired in 2019. At the start of the pandemic, she was looking for a volunteer opportunity where she could assist those most impacted. Her colleague mentioned MOWCM, and she decided to attend the volunteer orientation.

After learning about Call Connections, she knew that’s where she wanted to help and began calling several clients. Through her conversations as the months went on, Silvia saw the complexities of her clients’ lives and learned unique needs they had, including technological and cognitive challenges. She heard about the difficulties of poverty and how it particularly impacts the health and wellness of older adults.

Silvia has been working with one particular client, Michael, over the past year and has witnessed the positive improvement in his affect. Michael P. is 64 years old and currently lives in Baltimore City after residing throughout the US over the years, including Florida and California. He struggles with many different health challenges, and it is difficult for him to get around. Over a year ago, Michael’s relative told him about MOWCM. Michael was able to get signed up and has been so grateful for the service saying, “The volunteers are so polite and the meal variety is wonderful, from fruits to vegetables. Without MOWCM I would eat oatmeal for every meal.” Michael has loved being a part of the Call Connections program and chatting with Silvia. He struggles with isolation and Silvia has been a great help in reminding him he is not alone.

Overall, Silvia believes the Call Connections program is wonderful and so valuable to both volunteer and client. The program brings folks together, especially in a time like COVID when she many are separated.

To become a Call Connections volunteer, click here.

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