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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

WesleyLife offering 'Meals on Wheels' food delivery, rides to vaccine appointments

"Finding funding for the meals is always a challenge," Bambi Press with Meals on Wheels said. To help serve those in need, the organization is selling three meals.

DES MOINES, Iowa — WesleyLife Meals on Wheels has been a lifeline for some adults in the Des Moines metro for years. Like most things, the pandemic greatly impacted their operations. 

The organization saw the need for their meals significantly increase, and at one point, they had fewer volunteers to help deliver the food.

"Around that time things were scary," Bambi Press, director of community nutrition for WesleyLife Meals on Wheels, said. 

They went from serving about 4,000 meals a week to 6,300.

Press said it was hard for a moment delivering all of those meals, because 100 volunteers and 12 team members had to stop helping out of caution for their health or having to take care of another family member. 

The organization put out a call for help, and quickly got more volunteers.

Now, the organization is looking to make sure they have enough money to keep feeding meals to their clients who are on government assistance using their program and are below the federal poverty line. 

"Finding funding for the meals is always a challenge," Press said.

To make sure they have enough money to feed those clients, Meals on Wheels is holding a fundraiser. 

"We'll be doing a 'Try One Give One' event," Press said. "That'll give people an opportunity to try Meals on Wheels and also make a donation."

One of the volunteers, Ronda Sickels, said the fundraiser would be beneficial to some of their clients in need. 

"For some, it's the only meal of the day," she said. 

Sickels has been helping out for over two years, and she believes delivering the meals not only gives the clients food but also, friendship.

To donate to the "Try One Give One" fundraiser, click here.

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The company is also using its "Wesley Wheels" service to provide transportation for people to their COVID-19 vaccine appointments

"I do it often," driver Jim Cooper told Local 5. "It’s surprising how grateful people are to have a ride somewhere."

Wesley Wheels has 20 drivers to help transport people to appointments, shopping and other daily activities. 

“We average doing anywhere from 700 to 800 trips a month," Stephen Peters, transportation manager, explained.

"We did a lot of people who were COVID-19 recovered and discharged from the hospital," said Joy White, the executive director of WesleyLife at Home.

Safety is still a priority. 

Masks are required by both driver and passenger, along with a plastic barrier between client and driver.

Cooper said he cleans between each client, too. 

A one way metro trip on Wesley Wheels costs $55. For more information, click here or call 515-271-6868.

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