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Need for in-home meals remains high in Columbus area

LifeCare Alliance says needs for Meals on Wheels and other services remain at early pandemic levels or higher.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The need for home deliveries in the community is higher now than it was this time last year, according to LifeCare Alliance.

The not-for-profit organization has operated as an in-home health care agency and now meal and nutrition service, since 1898. It’s grown to one of the nation's largest Meals on Wheels providers.

President and CEO Chuck Gehring says the organization serves between 20,000 to 25,000 clients who are elderly or have medical complications in the Columbus area.

Gehring says the need has grown for those who need food and other resources delivered.

“Our Meals on Wheels program has shot up 65% last April, in numbers, and we are still up that high. In fact last week we were up 69%, higher than we were last March,” said Gehring. “Their supports are not coming in, they are afraid to go to the store if they can even get there. It’s just a really bad situation for people and they are just not going to leave their houses.”

Disparities have expanded since the pandemic started.

Fifteen percent of LifeCare Alliance clients have access to a computer, and Gehring believes half of those people only use it to play games or send emails and are unable to log on to book COVID-19 vaccination appointments.

Gehring suggests calling the Franklin County Office on Aging at (614) 525-5230 or LifeCare Alliance (614) 278-3130, to talk to a person who can help arrange an appointment and a ride to a vaccination site.