Coastline of New Bedford’s Meals on Wheels Program Earns Praise [TOWNSQUARE SUNDAY]
May is National Older Americans Month, and earlier this month members of selectboards in several communities including Dartmouth, Fairhaven and Marion joined with Coastline of New Bedford in delivering meals to elders living at home.
Coastline's core service is the Meals on Wheels program, which in 2022 delivered more than 434,000 meals to seniors still living independently at home, and those visiting senior centers in New Bedford and six other communities.
CEO Justin Lees and Agency Planner Zach Boyer joined Townsquare Sunday this week to talk about the success of Meals on Wheels and Coastline in general.
How important is Meals on Wheels?
"We have a really heightened need in our service area, post-pandemic," Boyer said. "Because of cuts in supplemental nutrition programs like SNAP, it's clear that for one in 10 elders that we serve every day, this will be the only meal that they get."
Drivers in the Meals on Wheels program, who are paid, also have another job: providing an unofficial "wellness check" on the people receiving meals. Boyer said there have been many times when drivers have reported people who needed emergency help.
Coastline CEO Justin Lees said his agency offers a myriad of programs to assist elders life independently as long as possible. The latest is Technology Education for Elders.
"We had some additional COVID-related funding over the past few years and we identified a major need for technology education and access," Lees said.
"When everyone was converting to Zoom meetings, a lot of our elders were left hanging with no way to access that," he said.
Lees said Coastline designed a program in-house, where elders can sign up, come into the office and learn those basic computer and smart phone tools.
If you would like to learn more about what Coastline has to offer, visit the Coastline of New Bedford website or call (508) 999-6400.
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