Last week, Steve and Michele Hutton were among the many volunteers who went to area restaurants and picked up hundreds of hot meals to deliver to seniors throughout the Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck. Bay Aging’s Helping Neighbors initiative supports nearly 700 seniors, and those with underlying health conditions, to safely stay in their homes throughout the Coronavirus outbreak. Volunteers are delivering free hot meals in the Middle Peninsula on Mondays and Wednesdays and throughout the Northern Neck on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Steve and Michele picked up dinners comprised of meat loaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, and green beans from the Galley restaurant in Deltaville. The Galley is one of seventeen area restaurants partnering with Bay Aging in support of the Helping Neighbors initiative.

In Warsaw, Anna’s Pizza prepared spaghetti and salad dinners on Tuesday and an additional 41 pizza dinners for Thursday’s deliveries. “We would like to thank Bay Aging for choosing us to deliver meals to people that need them,” said James Fogarty, who co-owns Anna’s owner with wife Fran. “We appreciate being able to keep the restaurant running, even on a limited basis, during these difficult times. The Helping Neighbors program means a lot to the Anna’s Warsaw family,” added James’ sister, Lauren Fogarty, who also works at Anna’s.

“We’ve added fifty-six new participants for this week’s free meal deliveries,” noted Bay Aging’s Lauren Cobb, who is managing the Helping Neighbors initiative. “Obviously, delivering more than 1,300 hot meals a week is a major undertaking and we couldn’t do it without the support of the many volunteers and Bay Aging employees who have stepped up to meet this challenge.” 

Increased food insecurity is an unfortunate biproduct of the COVID-19 crisis and Helping Neighbors is just one of several initiatives Bay Aging has launched in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Through a generous donation from the Food Lion Feeds Foundation, Bay Aging is also distributing Food Lion gift cards to a hundred of the neediest seniors throughout the region. “These gift cards will be a lifeline to many area residents who are in dire need of toiletries, pet food and other necessities not provided through our Meals on Wheels program,” said Bay Aging’s President and CEO Kathy Vesley. “At Food Lion, we’re committed to nourishing our neighbors, and we know the towns and cities we serve are counting on us more than ever during this unprecedented time,” said Jim Giffin, local Food Lion Director of Operations. “We’re proud to support organizations such as Bay Aging that are working hard to help make sure our neighbors don’t have to worry about where their next meal will come from.”

Bay Aging’s Meals on Wheels program has also experienced a surge in demand that has resulted in an eighty-one percent increase in the number of meals we are serving to over 20,350 per month. Enrollment has also expanded from the addition of clients from Bay Aging’s Adult Day Care and Active Lifestyle Centers which were closed in accordance with the Governor’s orders.

Donations have also come from a myriad of sources including the Gloucester Rotary and Ruritan Clubs, Atlantic Spray Systems, the Middlesex County Rotary Club, Anthem HealthKeepers Plus, the Abingdon Ruritan Club, Kelsick Specialty Market, the Severn Church’s Joyful Hands Ladies Circle and the Walmart Foundation. The Middlesex and Essex County Public School Boards redeployed PPE and cleaning supplies no longer needed after schools were closed to Bay Aging.

For more information about Helping Neighbors, or to volunteer or donate, please visit Bay Aging’s website at www.bayaging.org. For those without access to the internet, please call Bay Aging at 1-800-493-0238.

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