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New app will help better serve ‘Meals on Wheels’ clients

Published: Jan. 7, 2022 at 6:43 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Horizons - A Family Service Alliance, in Cedar Rapids, has recently begun using an app that lets them better meet the needs of their clients in the Meals on Wheels program.

The “More than a Meal” app launched in November. Right now Horizons is in the beta testing phase for the app. About a dozen of their volunteers are using it right now. The goal is to get all of their volunteers using it.

The way it works is that a volunteer logs in to the app at the start of their shift. The app gives them a list of clients they are delivering meals to, and how to get to their homes. They can also upload any notes about the clients. Those notes go back to the office, where leaders will connect seniors to any services they need.

Before the app, volunteers would have to write down any issues seniors are having and bring them in. Horizons says this way is more efficient.

“It’s not just we’re delivering a meal,” Heather Shane, coordinator for the app, said. “It is a daily wellness check. It is all of these other things every time a volunteer goes to the door.”

Leaders say this app is especially important during this time when the need to get meals to seniors in the community is growing. For some seniors, the volunteers are the only people they interact with.

“Our census data from the year 2020 showed us older adults in our state have reached 17 percent of Iowa’s population,” Sofia DeMartino, community relations and grants director, said. “So we know that the need is growing, we know that our senior population is growing.”

Meals on Wheels volunteers Matt Calman see who he is driving to deliver hot meals to, and how to get there. He’s used it to report an issue a client was having.

“I had a client who had a little slip on some icy steps the other day,” Calman said. “And I had let heather know that she had taken a fall and was a little bruised and needed a follow-up.”

Calman won’t start his route without it.

“It just makes us more efficient and can spend more time caring for our clients,” Calman said.

Horizons is looking for more volunteers. Click here for more information on how to sign up.

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