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Coronavirus: Mobile Meals of Spartanburg alters delivery schedule

Herald-Journal - 3/17/2020

Mar. 17--Mobile Meals of Spartanburg will continue delivering meals during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak on an adjusted schedule.

The non-profit organization delivers up to 1,300 meals daily to homes in Spartanburg County. More volunteers are needed during the outbreak to cover routes.

"We are on a learning curve, but it's been incredible with people responding to our needs," said Jayne McQueen, Mobile Meals of Spartanburg president and CEO. "Our number one objective is how to best serve everybody with the least amount of exposure."

Mobile Meals has implemented an alternate delivery schedule by providing two meals for recipients on Mondays and Wednesdays, beginning next week.

This week, two meals were delivered on Tuesday with another round of two meals set to be delivered on Thursday. McQueen said there will be no meals delivered on Wednesday and Friday this week.

Volunteer drivers are also being encouraged not to stay too long at each visit.

"We want them to drop off the meals and leave and take no time for discussion," McQeen said.

Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, delivery drivers would take time during each visit to check on recipients' well being.

"We are trying to make everything as smooth as possible so people can still get their meals, " she said.

Additional volunteers are needed to help deliver meals during the coronavirus outbreak. About 80 percent of the regular volunteer drivers were available on Tuesday with new volunteers pitching in to help.

McQueen said Mobile Meals may eventually leave meals on recipients' front porches, but for now, they will continue to be delivered as they always have been -- person to person.

"We have had some calls from recipients telling us they can't believe we are still delivering," McQueen said. "Our kitchen staff prepared 2,600 meals today (Tuesday) to cover two days. We had never done that before."

Volunteers will also be prevented from congregating in large groups.

Vivian Tanner, Mobile Meals of Spartanburg director of volunteer services, said volunteers will wear gloves on their routes with some also wearing surgical masks.

Based on the early response, Tanner is not too concerned about finding new volunteers to help deliver meals.

"A lot of people have been calling," Tanner said. "It's been overwhelming. There are people who are not working right now who have told us they are available to help."

Tanner said Mobile Meals is prepared to operate on an alternate delivery schedule for months if necessary. Each volunteer delivers between 10 to 12 meals per route.

Anyone wishing to be a volunteer delivering meals is asked to call Mobile Meals of Spartanburg at 864-573-7684. The organization's office is at 419 E. Main St., Spartanburg.

This content is being provided for free as a public service to our readers during the coronavirus outbreak. Please support local journalism by subscribing to GoUpstate.

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