On February 2nd, representatives from the Civic Engagement department at Hofstra met with Meals on Wheels representatives for an initial meeting to discuss ways in which CCE representatives can work with Meals on Wheels in a community partnership. Although Meals on Wheels is a fairly well-known national organization, it was discovered that they face the same internal functioning issues as many non-profits, and that there is a need for volunteer help. In order to understand the roles that CCE representatives will fill, it is first necessary to have some information about Meals on Wheels on Long Island. This nonprofit is the largest server of assistance to homebound seniors in Nassau County, delivering nutritious food, wellness check-ins, and friendly visits to elderly individuals throughout Long Island. Although many are currently being helped by the organization, it has been argued that the seniors who need assistance the most are those that are going without. Language barriers, immigration issues, and social isolation have left many seniors who are living below the poverty line isolated and without access to social interaction. To combat these issues, Meals on Wheels has partnered with CCE to recruit and train student volunteers, who will work to spread the word and combat isolation amongst home-bound seniors.
The February 2nd initial meeting left both Meals on Wheels employees and CCE students feeling optimistic about the future of their community partnership and prepared to delve into research and planning for Spring 2016. Before official training begins on Thursday, February 18th at 3:30 , CCE fellows and volunteers will be busy researching centers that may be able to connect those in need with Meals on Wheels representatives, and brainstorming ways to increase communication with potentially eligible seniors. As the project kicks off, the organization is looking for: volunteers to provide food and safety checks, students willing to go door to door asking for potential contacts, translators, and ideas on how to reach the elderly through social media. Criteria for senior citizenship includes the following:
- Nassau County resident 60 or older
- Unable to drive, shop, cook or prepare meals because of physical or mental impairment
- Does not have relative or friends who can provide
- Does not have home health aide (meals can be provided for days that home health aide is not present)
If you or anyone you know would like to volunteer or know someone who may benefit from this program, please stop by the CCE department, or contact Greg Maney at Gregory.M.Maney@Hofstra.edu. As always, keep up with the Center For Civic Engagement by liking our Facebook Page or following us on Twitter!