Greater Haverhill Meals on Wheels Temporarily Delivering Frozen Meals as Virus Precaution

Frozen food. (File photograph.)

Greater Haverhill Meals on Wheels deliveries to seniors were interrupted this week when a kitchen worker tested positive for the coronavirus.

Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley completed deliveries Monday, but halted hot meals Tuesday when outside food supplier TRIO Community Meals of Andover reported the test result. Elder Services’ CEO Joan Hatem Roy said, while there is no evidence COVID-19 is spread by food, and the employee used appropriate personal protective equipment, the agency ceased deliveries as a precaution.

Having planned for such a contingency, however, Elder Services’ Chief Strategy Officer Jennifer Raymond said an 11-day supply of additional frozen meals had been distributed earlier.

“When this entire COVID-19 virus struck us, we had worked really closely with the kitchen to prepare emergency frozen meal packets for every one of the consumers. We have about 2,600 consumers,” she said.

She said local Councils on Aging and others also followed up with residents to identify any food emergencies and provide additional meals on a case-by-case basis. On Wednesday, delivery of an additional seven-day food packet began.

“The reason we did another seven-day pack was that we know that sometimes the meals go faster than we might have anticipated that they go. So, even though they may have had some before, we wanted them to have another seven-day pack that will help get them though this week,” Raymond explained.

In anticipation of resuming hot meal deliveries the week of June 15—after TRIO completes deep cleaning and its workers are quarantined for 14 days, an additional seven-day, frozen meal packet will be delivered to residents next week.

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