HANNIBAL | Staff and volunteers with the Hannibal Nutrition Center have found new ways to help ensure seniors in Hannibal and New London receive a meal after temporarily closing their dining area in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A drive-through lane marked by cones is set up where rows of cars were parked before, and Executive Director Margee Tucker encouraged volunteers to lend a hand during a time of increased need in the area.
Tucker said the average daily crowd in the dining room reached around 80 people, but the dining room has been closed in accordance with local and CDC guidelines. She said some clients who used to come to the Hannibal Nutrition Center for their meal have been calling to have their meals delivered, and Meals-on-Wheels routes have been divided up to help meet the increased need. The drive-through distribution of meals has been going strong — especially on “chicken day, which brings in about 120 people.
“So our drive-through is pretty hopping on Thursday,” Tucker said. “It's going well. We're being able to serve people — not the way they're used to — but we're still able to get them their food.”
Tucker stressed that food insecurity is an issue many seniors face, and she encouraged everyone to check on their neighbors to see if they have this type of need. If they reach out to the Hannibal Nutrition Center, staff members can contact a neighbor to see what they can do to help.
“Talk to your neighbors and find out who they are and what they need,” Tucker said. “A lot of us stay to ourselves — and we don't reach out to our neighbors anymore, and that's so important, especially when they're elderly.”
Tucker said the cooking staff is still making meals, and office staff members are helping in the drive-through. She said the Hannibal Nutrition Center is seeking volunteers who can devote one hour to delivering meals. The routes reach Hannibal and New London residents, and Tucker emphasized the impact goes beyond getting a nutritious meal each day.
“During a scary time, it's nice to see a familiar, smiling face,” Tucker said. “Because it is scary, and sometimes that's all it takes to calm people back down — is a familiar, smiling face, knowing that the world is still going on outside.”
More information or opportunities to volunteer are available by calling 573-221-4488 or visitinghttps://www.hannibalnutrition.com.