Helen Keller once said, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” She was wise in her years, and might agree with the more current pop culture sentiment that “Teamwork makes the dream work!”
Meals on Wheels of Hancock County is teaming up with community hunger-fighting champions Hoosier Harvest Market, Boys and Girls Clubs of Hancock County and the Hancock County Food Pantry to help bring fresh, Hoosier-grown produce to our program clients — especially when needed the most.
“It’s allowing people to work together while thinking outside of the box.” said Lynda Kosh, Meals on Wheels of Hancock County Executive Director. “We’re also connecting farmers to communities. What’s that quote, ‘Necessity is the motherhood of invention?'”
Chantal Fowler, Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hancock County, agrees. Her organization is distributing meals to kids up to age 18 from 4-6 p.m. every Friday. The meals are distributed at a limited number, and will be distributed until they run out for that week.
“It’s modernizing and adapting to meeting the needs of the community,” she said.
Amy Suburg, Hoosier Harvest Market president and Berry Goods Farm owner, said her business has adapted to the social distancing and COVID-19 changes.
“I created an online store for my farm in two days,” she said.
Hoosier Harvest Market is a farmer-owned online cooperative featuring local produce, meats, eggs, cheeses, wheat products, flowers, honey and more, all grown or made throughout the state. Hoosier Harvest Market has partnered with Healthy 365, whose mission is promoting health, happiness, and wholeness in Hancock County, to ensure residents are staying healthy and fed, especially during the pandemic.
“Our partnership with Healthy 365 targets at-risk populations, and we’re in our third year now,” Suburg said. “We offer cooking classes, which we may need to offer online now, and include these recipes in the bags that go out.”
(See below for Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan recipe, courtesy of Hoosier Harvest Market.)
In addition to weekday deliveries of our signature hot and cold meals, we’re delivering Care Boxes filled with Hoosier Harvest Market pantry-stable produce and canned and dry foods and necessities from the Hancock County Food Pantry. We’re thrilled to receive packing support, including space and Care Box packers, through the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hancock County.
The Meals on Wheels of Hancock County team has been surveying clients to learn if available farm-to-table produce, pantry items and other necessities in Care Boxes are helpful. As well as finding out if pets need food and if there’s a need for masks. We are thankful for hand-made mask donations from Hancock County neighbors.
We appreciate all of our creative community partners in helping us deliver more than a meal during COVID-19. Also, packages of kindness and sentiments of love for neighbors.
As we adapt to the changes the COVID-19 pandemic has presented in our community, Meals on Wheels of Hancock County is being lifted up by support from the Central Indiana COVID-19 Community Economic Relief Fund.
Meals on Wheels of Hancock County is honored to be one of 46 Central Indiana community organizations benefiting from the first-round of C-CERF donations totaling more than $7 million statewide. The funds are helping stabilize community organizations such as ours as we change delivery protocols and add more vulnerable clients, such as seniors and those with compromised immunities who are following stay-at-home orders and staying healthy through social distancing measures.
We are utilizing the funds to help continue our safe weekday home deliveries of nutritious meals in accordance with prescribed dietary needs, and provide a point of contact in the community through follow-up phone calls once meals have been safely placed in coolers on clients’ porches. If you or a loved one or neighbor are interested in receiving meals, click here to get meals or call (317) 477-4345. You may also support our nonprofit organization by volunteering and donating online.
According to the United Way of Central Indiana, the economic relief fund was launched at the end of March with initial investments from founding partners Lilly Endowment Inc., Central Indiana Community Foundation (through the Glick Fund and The Indianapolis Foundation), Eli Lilly and Company Foundation, Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, and United Way of Central Indiana. The Fund is helping us, and our fellow Hoosiers, in weathering the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic in the days and weeks to come.
“Our coalition of funders has been in daily communication with community leaders across Central Indiana to assess emerging needs and direct service providers to better understand their most pressing challenges,” said Ann Murtlow, president & CEO, United Way of Central Indiana, which is administering the fund. “With this information, the founding funders of C-CERF were able to make decisions on grants to organizations that serve in critical service areas that provide flexibility to problem solve in a rapidly changing environment.”
On April 7, the Task Force of the Central Indiana COVID-19 Community Economic Relief Fund announced a second wave of grants to 32 human service organizations in the six-county region. As of today, more than $22.2 million has been donated to the Fund, and 100% of all donations to C-CERF’s website go directly to organizations serving those in need due to the pandemic.
“At this moment, our community is feeling the impact of layoffs and other job losses, increased childcare needs due to school closures, and significant food shortages for our most vulnerable neighbors,” said Ronni Kloth, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for community development. “We hope this funding can help these organizations begin to address these and other critical needs.”
As Meals on Wheels of Hancock County and United Way of Central Indiana are #INthistogether, we proudly stand with Gov. Eric Holcomb, and a distinguished roster of corporate partners, nonprofit organizations and individuals, for the recently announced #INthistogether statewide campaign to focus on the importance of social distancing. To participate, go to INthistogetherCampaign.com and click the contact under Get IN Touch to join the coalition of community partners.
According to the campaign, social distancing is the most important, effective tool we have to defeat COVID-19 — and a growing coalition of Indiana-based partners is committed to equipping everyone in our state with the knowledge and the resources to stay connected and motivated.
Looking for a social post starter? How about this:
We are #INthistogether! We may be social distancing, but we can stay connected and well. Take a walk outside. Call your family. Let me know how you’re in #INthistogether and invite others to join the campaign to flatten the COVID-19 curve. www.inthistogethercampaign.com
To learn more or to donate to the C-CERF, text HELP2020 to 91999 or visit www.covid19cerf.org.
As a proud member of Meals on Wheels America, Meals on Wheels of Hancock County serves an incredibly vulnerable population. We’re often the primary lifeline delivering so much more than just a meal, especially in the uncertain times we find ourselves experiencing.
Across the country, community meal delivery programs such as Meals on Wheels of Hancock County are monitoring the evolving COVID-19 pandemic. We’re taking healthy precautions to protect high-risk individuals, and all of our clients and volunteers, while preparing for increased demand and new ways of delivering services, including a limited contact model of delivery and phone calls to follow-up and check-in.
We know the critical importance of preparation in times like this and understand the delicate balance between panic and preparedness. We support facts over fear, and constantly monitor updates and directives for social distancing and stay-at-home initiatives. You can read Meals on Wheels America’s frequently-updated national coronavirus response here.
Keeping Neighbors Safe Amid COVID-19
Vulnerable seniors and homebound neighbors with compromised immune systems are at the greatest risk amid COVID-19. Local Meals on Wheels programs such as Meals on Wheels of Hancock County’s are on the front lines every day, focused on doing all we can to keep fellow Americans safe and nourished in communities nationwide.
The costs and efforts needed to protect neighbors from COVID-19 require additional emergency funds, and that’s why we’re asking Hoosier businesses, foundations and the general public to remember our vulnerable neighbors in our local response. We’re monitoring the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation and will continue to share updates as quickly as possible.
In the meantime, we ask for your help. Please help sponsor those who may need financial support in securing daily delivery of our fresh, healthy meals, especially during the global COVID-19 pandemic.
⦁ Take Precautions Around High-risk Individuals
Whether you’re visiting your grandparents or volunteering for Meals on Wheels of Hancock County, please follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on how to protect yourself and individuals at risk of serious illness from COVID-19.
⦁ Contact Your At-risk Loved Ones and Neighbors
Now is the time to call, text or email your older neighbors and loved ones to see what they might need to be prepared. Let them know you’re thinking about them and that you’re available to help, should they need it.
⦁ Follow CDC Recommendations for At-risk Older Adults
Like many illnesses, older adults face higher risks of contracting COVID-19 and/or experiencing complications, particularly if they also have chronic medical conditions. According to CDC, if you are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, you should:
Stock up on appropriate supplies
⦁ Take ⦁ everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others
⦁ When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often.
Avoid crowds as much as possible.
We encourage concerned individuals to follow state and local health department communications for the best information and accurate instructions for each unique community. Stay safe and healthy.