Soaring Inflation, Growing Senior Population Amplify Meals on Wheels Waitlist

Community meal delivery volunteers.

Soaring Inflation, Growing Senior Population Amplify Meals on Wheels Waitlist

COLUMBIA, S.C.- Richland County’s Meals on Wheels has reported an enormous 500% rise in the number of seniors on its waitlist compared to June of the previous year. The non-profit organisation has identified a growing number of seniors in Richland County who require nutritional support, while rising meal costs continue to affect individuals and families.

Growing Needs among Seniors

Andrew Boozer, Executive Director of Senior Resources, reports an ongoing increase in the needs of seniors in Richland County. As of June 28, 2024, the waitlist had grown to 228 individuals. “Our goal over the next six months is to really focus on getting that waiting list down as low as possible,” said Boozer, adding, “Volunteers and community support are the ways that’s going to happen.”

Impact of Inflation on Meal Costs

According to Boozer, the cost of meals the non-profit has been ordering for people over the past year has surged by nearly 25%. He identifies this factor, coupled with an influx of seniors moving into the area and needing assistance, as the primary contributors to the elongated waitlist. “Unfortunately, for a lot of people on our waiting list, waiting for meals right now have been on there for almost six months or longer,” Boozer said. “We can’t continue to let that happen.”

Volunteers and Donations Needed

Boozer’s community is not alone; he reports receiving calls from people across the state inquiring if they could receive food from Richland County’s Meals on Wheels. He sees the solution in community-driven volunteer work and financial donations to counterbalance the rising food costs and help more seniors off the waiting list. “I encourage everyone (who has) a little extra funds (to) donate to help cover the costs of the meals,” Boozer said, “It’s going to take a community effort.”

A veteran volunteer for Meals on Wheels since Christmas 2023, Nikki Merritt, expressed her passion for providing food to those who need it, and encouraged more participation from the community. “Summer’s hard,” Merritt said. “If anyone could come pick up some shifts during the summertime, they can see what it’s all about.” Those interested in volunteering for Meals on Wheels or wishing to make a donation can find more information on their website.

Soaring Inflation, Growing Senior Population Amplify Meals on Wheels Waitlist

Author: HERE Irmo

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