Nearly 2,000 consumers in 11 cities and towns rely on Mystic Valley Elder Services (MVES) for Meals on Wheels home delivery, with close to 3,000 meals provided each day. Especially for frail, homebound elders, the nutrition services provided by MVES can be a lifeline. However, what happens when inclement winter weather interferes with Meals on Wheels delivery, as it sometimes does in New England?
To address this challenge, MVES has partnered with Action Ambulance to unroll a revolutionary phone communication system to ensure consumers are alerted in a timely fashion to cancellations or delays in their Meals on Wheels service. As soon as MVES becomes aware of weather interfering with the Meals on Wheels delivery, they alert Action Ambulance and in turn Action Ambulance sends out automated calls through a state-of-the-art phone system that enables the agency to reach up to 2,500 consumers in less than one hour. The pre-recorded calls come from a MVES nutrition program phone number, ensuring that consumers know the calls are legitimate and not from telemarketers. The messages feature the voice of a Nutrition Services team member.
According to Angie Fitzgerald, MVES Nutrition Director, the partnership with Action Ambulance—which has been in place for six years—has ensured seamless communication between the MVES nutrition program and its many consumers. She points out that Action Ambulance provides the phone alert system free of charge to MVES. “They are always just a call away when we need their assistance,” she stresses. “I simply send our list of active consumers to Action Ambulance and they ensure the calls are made.”
“Working with Action Ambulance has streamlined our communication process and made it more instantaneous,” continues Fitzgerald. “It truly is such a great partnership.”
Michael Woronka, CEO of Action Ambulance, shares, “Action Ambulance recognizes the critical need Mystic Valley fills by providing a range of support services to the disadvantaged and frail within the community. These services allow for as many people as possible to remain in their homes or group setting while keeping their independence. We are proud to support an organization such as Mystic Valley Elder Services.”
In addition to having this revolutionary phone system set up, MVES provides its Meals on Wheels consumers with a number of shelf-stable meals at the beginning of each winter. They also plan to deliver a number of meals in advance of each storm.
“Our Meals on Wheels program offers much more than just a meal. It’s a friendly face at the door, a warm exchange. I am very proud of what we do. Seeing firsthand why the service is essential and who is being served is such a privilege,” concludes Fitzgerald.
We understand that some people have special dietary needs for their daily meals. MVES’ Meals on Wheels provide simple solutions to assist these special requirements, based on dietary or medical needs. Special meals are available on a physician’s recommendation including Carbohydrate Controlled, Cardiac, Low Lactose, Renal, Chopped, Ground, and Pureed meals.
If you hardly ever leave the house and have difficulty preparing your own meals, you can join Meals on Wheels, our home-delivered meals program for adults 60+ and adults with disabilities. To learn more about Meals on Wheels, visit www.mves.org or call 781-324-7705.