WITH more people cocooning due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a sharp increase in the demand for West Cork’s Meals on Wheels service.
Ellen Logan, who is the chef at the Schull Satellite Centre said: ‘In February, we were doing an average of 80 meals during the week, but that number has skyrocketed to an average of 130 last week.’
Goleen also operates a Meals on Wheels service – which means people can access good, nutritious meals six-days a week – and the pattern there is comparable, said Ellen.
‘I imagine it is the same situation all over West Cork because with so many people over the age of 70 cocooning their routine has changed dramatically.
‘Some older people would have had a few meals out in local restaurants but now they are all shut, and for ease and comfort they are availing of the Meals on Wheels service.
Despite the increased demand, there is also a corresponding increase in the number of volunteers willing to drive the meals to all parts of the peninsula.
Ellen said: ‘People who are off work are volunteering to drive for us, and will even do a bit of shopping for people if needs be.’
Ellen estimated that the volunteer numbers in Schull have increased three-fold and said: ‘Anyone who is cocooning and feels they would benefit from having a hot, nourishing meal delivered directly to their door can contact me on 085 1078910 or Nuala Hegarty on 086 3159719.’
The Skibbereen Meals on Wheels service has reported a similar increase in demand, but they too have benefited from additional volunteer support. Áine Minihane, who is the service manager at the Skibbereen Luncheon Club said: ‘The demand is increasing all the time. At present, we are doing anything up to 100 meals a day, and we also do grocery delivery and a medication drop off, if needed.
‘What we are hearing from people is that they need help because the situation has gone on a lot longer than they thought it would.
‘Volunteer numbers have increased from one car on the road to nine cars, and we have an extra four people assisting in accordance with HSE and Government guidelines in the kitchen.
‘Despite the increase we still have capacity for anyone who would like to avail of the service. Call: 028 22269 or 086 2163835,’ Áine said.