By Gina Yarbrough/San Diego County News
OCEANSIDE–Meals on Wheels San Diego County commemorated Veterans Day with a special delivery to a special hero.
Meals on Wheels San Diego County’s new president and CEO Brent Wakefield personally delivered the meal to World War II Ed Kruck’s Oceanside home on Veterans Day.
Kruck received his meal alongside his son Ed Jr., a Vietnam War veteran as a “thank you for your service,” according to Wakefield.
The Navy veteran has been a client of the San Diego-based nonprofit organization since 2010. His daughter signed him up for the program after his wife, Dottie passed away.
“It’s a God-send for me because my wife passed away quite a while ago, and I’m in this big house by myself with my dog,” Kruck said. “I’m not a very good cook.”
A Meals on Wheels volunteer may be the only person the organization’s clients see all day, providing human contact and a safety net of compassion and conversation, particularly for those seniors living alone.
“They are very nice to me. They ask me how I feel and everything going alright,” Kruck said.
The need for social distancing has also cut many more older adults off from their family and support networks, making them vulnerable to the negative health effects of isolation.
Although COVID-19 restrictions mean that volunteers can no longer enter homes during deliveries, they still chat with seniors outside from a safe distance for a few minutes while wearing a face mask and gloves.
According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, there are only 325,574 of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II are still alive in 2020.
“This is an honor for us. In San Diego county, we provide meals about 2,000 clients on a daily basis,” Wakefield said.
The number of meals delivered to homes have increased since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region, according to the organization.
Seniors are at serious risk of major illness and complications from COVID-19, creating an even greater need for home-delivered, nutritious meals.
Federal government data shows that up to 16 percent of Americans older than 65—and even more of those in hospitals or other institutions— are at high risk for malnutrition.
“Since COVID, we had a 40 percent increase in our clientele, Wakefield said.
Meals on Wheels San Diego County is seeking additional volunteers to meet the demand of meal deliveries to homes. Visit meals-on-wheels.org for more information on how to get involved.
Learn more at www.meals-on-wheels.org or call 800.5.SENIOR.