VPAS expands Meals on Wheels service to include shelf-stable and fresh foods

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WAYNESBORO, Va. (WHSV) — The Valley Program for Aging Services (VPAS), which normally organizes the Meals on Wheels program throughout our area, has partnered with other local organizations for more ways to supply food during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thanks to funding from the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge and Augusta Health, VPAS says they're now delivering shelf-stable products from the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, along with fresh foods from local farmers, supplied by Augusta Health and Allegheny Mountain Institute, to their most at-risk clients.

Those deliveries supplement the existing Meals on Wheels program.

VPAS says their case managers screened clients around the Shenandoah Valley to identify the most at-risk people in Harrisonburg/Rockingham County, Staunton, Augusta County, Waynesboro, Buena Vista, Lexington, and Rockbridge County.

With that information, volunteers will deliver the shelf-stable and fresh food to 50 households in those areas twice per month to help ensure homebound adults can meet their nutritional needs while they're urged to stay home to limit potential exposure to COVID-19.

“The coronavirus crisis is bringing out the best in people and organizations as we work together to meet the needs of our neighbors,” said Jeri Schaff, VPAS executive director. “We are very grateful for the resourcefulness, generosity and competency of our partners in this effort to keep older adults safe and healthy.”

Volunteers are making their first deliveries with the new service on Tuesday, April 7.

According to VPAS, farmers delivered meat, eggs, and produce to Augusta Health early that morning. After packing the food boxes there, drivers then delivered them to the Waynesboro Senior Center, where boxes from the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank were already in stock.

From there, drivers plan to deliver the combined food boxes directly to the at-risk recipients, with increased sanitization of vehicles making deliveries and added health checks of staff and volunteers to protect their recipients.