Meals on Wheels, Shepherd’s Staff continue missions

By Sheryl Stanley
Cass County Council on Aging and Shepherd’s Staff Food Pantry, two local agencies that provide nutritious foods and meals to community residents, are continuing operations through the coronavirus shutdown.

Regina Saling, administrator of the Cass County Senior Center housed inside
the Harrisonville Community Center, said seniors can still receive daily hot meals, but only through the Meals on Wheels home delivery component.

“Our program operates under the auspices of the Mid-America Regional Council in Kansas City, and on March 13, they directed us to stop serving the daily meals at the Community Center because of the growing concern over the coronavirus. At that time, I was serving 30 to 40 people each day.”

“So far, about 20 of those have switched to the Meals on Wheels program and I expect more will sign up as time goes by,” Saling said.

Saling said she has no trouble getting food and other supplies for the meals, but until recently, delivering them to her clients was another matter.

“Luckily, Mayor Judy Bowman and Jill Filer from the Harrisonville schools were able to help us and now I have three teachers as volunteer drivers, so the meals are still getting delivered.”

Saling said anyone interested in receiving Meals on Wheels can call her at 816-380-3333 for more information.

Shepherd’s Staff Food Pantry, 1311 Sanders St., is also continuing its mission
to provide foods for families.

“Right now, I have no problem getting food,” said Linda Smith, director of the food pantry. “We get deliveries from Harvesters twice a month and also purchase extra from them.”

Smith is taking steps to protect her volunteers, however.

“We’re working with a smaller crew and we’re providing masks and gloves for everyone. Plus, we’re now taking the groceries directly out to our customers’ vehicles, rather than allowing people to handle the carts. It seems to be making the process much quicker and easier for

Smith, however, isn’t sure what stress the current economic downturn might place on her organization.

“In February, we served 1,441 individu als in 543 families. I’m sure that number will be up when March is finished and probably will go up again in April.

“We can’t operate without monetary donations. We usually get a portion from the Harrisonville Ministerial Alliance Thrift Store, but now they’re closed. Anyone who would like to help can send their gifts to the pantry ,” Smith said.