New safety measures for Meals on Wheels, financial assistance programs in Collier Co. due to COVID-19

Local programs for needy & elderly impacted by COVID-19 crisis
Posted at 9:57 AM, Mar 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-24 09:57:26-04

NAPLES, Fla. — A local catholic ministry serving the needy, elderly, and disabled is now implementing new safety procedures to help deal with the coronavirus.

St. Vincent de Paul Society runs year-round programs, like Meals on Wheels and Financial Assistance for Families, throughout Naples and Collier County.

They say as the virus continues to limit person-to-person contact and poses high-risk to the elderly, their senior clients will begin seeing a change to their Meals on Wheels.

SVdP says they currently feed 150 home-bound and disabled seniors. Their popular Meals on Wheels program is important for those struggling with low income and lack of support.

However, with the dangers of the COVID-19 crisis, they're now protecting their clients and volunteers.

The program is still continuing all meals, but putting a temporary stop to in-person check ups and limiting their days of delivery.

"A lot of volunteers we have are seniors, so they have health concerns. We knew the meals were a non-negotiable and that they have to be deliverer, so the first thing we did was cut down the meal delivery days," said Bill Allen, SVdP Director of Development. "Instead of delivering everyday, we deliver two days a week. Four meals one day and three meals the next."

Last year, Meals on Wheels delivered 54,000 meals to home-bound and disabled seniors in Collier County.

While the program presses pause to daily pleasantries of face-to-face visits, Allen says phone calls are still made to continue that support and keeping spirits high.

St. Vincent de Paul Society also provides financial assistance to needy families in their area.

Due to the health risk of in-person consultation, these services are now being moved online and over the phone.

The program is one of few non-profits in Collier County that offers financial assistance to families during economic hardship.

With the impacts of the coronavirus threatening local work and job status more than ever, SVdP is asking the community help support these families through tough times.

Families looking to apply for assistance can visit their website or call 239-775-2907, option 4.

To learn more about the different programs or how to help, click here.