Mount Pleasant Magazine Nov/Dec 2023

61 | | Although hunger is a glaring problem throughout the year, it is especially highlighted during the holiday season. East Cooper Meals on Wheels (ECMOW) is working to curb hunger in the homebound population this season. Established in August 1985, East Cooper Meals on Wheels serves anyone who is homebound and cannot prepare a meal, regardless of age or income level. They are a local, community-supported nonprofit organization and a member of the larger Meals on Wheels America network. “Homebound neighbors are by definition, out of sight, often forgotten and cannot take advantage of food banks, pantries and other resources that require mobility,” said ECMOW President and CEO George Roberts. This population is often forgotten on the holidays. Many do not have family in the area or may have outlived their friends. When you are confined to your home and cannot prepare meals for yourself, the holidays can be very challenging. Therefore, the relationships that volunteer delivery people develop with recipients during these daily visits are just as important as the meals that are served. The pandemic underscored just how vital this part of the organization is to the people it serves. A national Meals on Wheels America study showed that severe isolation and depression have the same physical impact on your body as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. The effects are mental and physical. Every week of the year, ECMOW provides up to three meals per day to the homebound population. They deliver fresh fruit, nutritional drinks like Ensure and even pet food. During the holiday season, traditional holiday meals are provided as well that include staples such as turkey, dressing, gravy and cranberry sauce. Local churches and civic groups like the Daniel Island Rotary Club partner with ECMOW during this time to provide holiday gifts and cards for the recipients in December. Sometimes, this is the only gift that these homebound neighbors receive during the holidays. ECMOW currently has the capacity to serve even more people. If you know someone who is homebound and could benefit from this service, please have them call today. The organization can have meals delivered as early as tomorrow. Need can vary in duration and ECMOW also helps those who may be homebound for only a short period of time due to injury or illness. If you are interested in contributing to the cause, ECMOW accepts in-kind donations of holiday gifts for recipients during November and early December. Financial support is always accepted and goes a long way in providing nutritional meals and other essentials for our homebound neighbors. If you call their office at 843-8819350, they can provide you with the most up to date list of needed items. Additionally, they are always in need of volunteers to deliver meals. Homebound for the Holidays East Cooper Meals on Wheels curbs holiday hunger East Cooper Meals on Wheels is happy to provide this service to the area and looks forward to serving those in need this holiday season. For more information, visit BY CARI LAWSON holiday cheer