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Baltimore Nonprofits Helping Feed Those Most At Risk During Coronavirus Pandemic

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Two non-profit organizations whose clients are the most vulnerable in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic are going above and beyond to make sure their needs are being met.

"So many of us have gone to the grocery store in the last few weeks, and we have noticed and felt that sense of, 'Where's all that food?'" Jessica Kohnen, Interim Executive Director of Moveable Feast, said. "Unfortunately, that sense of panic and anxiety around food insecurity is what our clients deal with every day, even absent COVID-19."

Moveable Feast provides meals catered to those who are immunocompromised, and Meals on Wheels provides food daily to senior citizens who need an extra hand.

"Aging adults are already at risk," Stephanie Archer-Smith, Executive Director of Meals on Wheels, said. "They're vulnerable, their immune system is not as strong as it might be for a younger person."

Both groups fall under the "higher-risk" category for coronavirus.

"So we really are taking every precaution that we can," Archer-Smith said.

Both non-profit organizations are making sure these crucial deliveries continue during the coronavirus pandemic.

"[We're] doing training remotely, and also health screening before they can participate, but our people are filling in," Archer-Smith said.

In order to keep volunteers, employees and clients safe, modifications in production and delivery models are now in place.


"We are practicing social distancing here at our offices," Kohnen said. "We had to discontinue our volunteer program. We have 150 volunteers on a weekly basis that come into this organization."

Moveable Feast has cut down from 30 staff in the kitchen a day to just 10.

"So this week has looked like the administrative staff who usually are writing grants, who are doing finances," Kohnen said.

At Meals on Wheels, employees are even reaching out to their senior clients over concerns on social distancing.

"Because we're so concerned about isolation, we are making sure that we have a team of client support specialists and student interns and volunteers who are calling people at least two times a week to make sure they are ok," Archer-Smith said.

Both non-profits said they will do whatever it takes to continue feeding those who need to be protected the most amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"Ultimately, our food is what helps keep people healthy and out of the hospital, so its our number one priority to make sure that we can continue that," Melanie Brown-Lane, Executive Chef at Moveable Feast, said.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department's website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ's coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

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