For some people, even before the pandemic, Meals on Wheels deliveries were their only contact with the outside world.
ED CRUMP: Even many of us who have gone to great lengths to isolate have been willing to leave home at least long enough to go get the COVID-19 vaccine. But what about those who want the vaccine and are unable to leave home?
ALAN WINSTEAD: We've had about 400 people who have responded to us that they are interested in receiving the vaccine.
ED CRUMP: Alan Winstead is the executive director of Meals on Wheels of Wake County. Like everything else, the Meals on Wheels program had to shift during the pandemic. Volunteers now load the cars of drivers without contact. And at the start of the pandemic, the program made drastic cuts in deliveries.
ALAN WINSTEAD: We went from five days a week delivery to just one day a week delivery, and we took multiple meals to people. And we realized people needed other food, so we took supplemental food.
[INAUDIBLE]: Meals on Wheels.
ED CRUMP: [INAUDIBLE] has been volunteering for the Wake County Meals on Wheels program for five years now, and also serves on its board.
[INAUDIBLE]: A lot of times this is the only daily interaction that some of these people have, and so it means a lot, even if we're just there for a couple of minutes.
ED CRUMP: He says the work has been especially important during the pandemic since he may be the only person people can unload their concerns on.
[INAUDIBLE]: I've heard some sad stories and some firsthand accounts of some of these folks losing family members to COVID.
ED CRUMP: [INAUDIBLE] and other volunteers are now back up to two deliveries a week, and Meals on Wheels would like to continue expanding that until they can get back to five days a week. That's where the vaccine comes in.
ALAN WINSTEAD: As more and more people are being vaccinated, we're seeing an uptick in interest in our volunteers coming back.
ED CRUMP: But what about those 400 clients unable to get out of their homes that want to be vaccinated?
ALAN WINSTEAD: We have had some discussions with Wake County Public Health. We've identified some people who would receive the vaccine if someone could come to their house.
ED CRUMP: Winstead says that arrangement will be dependent on vaccine supplies and logistics. Ed Crump, ABC11, Eyewitness News.