Grocery, meal delivery program expands service

Tuesday, April 7, 2020
Rev. Blake Lasater of First United Methodist Church of Eureka Springs is at the helm of the church’s Answering the Call program, which provides free grocery and meal delivery to those in need.
Submitted photo

By Samantha Jones

Citizen.Editor.Eureka@gmail.com

The First United Methodist Church of Eureka Springs is expanding the Answering the Call program to serve anyone in need in western Carroll County, according to Rev. Blake Lasater.

Lasater said the church is focused on helping everyone who needs it, especially medical providers who have been quarantined because of COVID-19. The church delivered meals to 120 people in a two-week period ending Monday morning, Lasater said, for a total of 840 meals. The program provides seven free frozen meals to each person who requests them.

Starting April 1, the group began delivering the meals to those affected by COVID-19. The delivery day originally was set for Wednesday, but Lasater said that has changed to Monday. The reason for that, Lasater said, is that the Ben E. Keith truck delivers the meals on Monday.

“So instead of unloading that truck, putting the meals in the freezer and hauling it out later, they just bring it straight in and we unpack and deliver,” Lasater said.

Because the program received additional funding over the past week, Lasater said the number of meal packages to be delivered on April 13 will double from 60 to 120. Lasater said he’s excited to offer more meals, because that means the program can simultaneously help those classified as high risk and those who are struggling financially.

The meal delivery is meant for those who are 65 or older and/or have severe underlying health conditions like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes. The service is also available to those who have been quarantined by their doctors because they have contracted the virus or have been in contact with someone who has contracted the virus. That’s the main focus, Lasater said, but the program is available for anyone in need.

For those who can afford to order carry-out meals from local restaurants but can’t leave the house, the program offers free delivery as well. The orders must be made in advance by 8 a.m. for lunch and by noon for dinner, with payment made in advance or cash or check available at delivery.

In addition to meal delivery, Answering the Call offers free pickup and delivery of groceries, medications, medical supplies, personal care items and household essentials from local stores. Payment must be made in advance or provided through cash or check at delivery. For services requiring payment, prepaid phone or online orders are preferred and recommended for the protection of the folks making the deliveries.

Lasater said church members have been working hard to ensure everyone in the community has what they need during this trying time.

“We’ve encountered a lot of heartbreaking stories and a lot of grateful people,” Lasater said. “For many of them, this enabled them to make it until unemployment kicks in. It’s a way to stay home and not worry where their next meal is coming from.”

This uncertain time affects everyone in the community in one way or another, Lasater said.

“I know a lot of people are worried,” he said, “but as a community we’ll get through this together if we all just come together.”

Those interested in volunteering or donating to the program should contact Martie Davis at esfumc@sbsglobal.net or 479-253-8987. Lasater is also available at blakelasater@gmail.com or 479-426-2547.

To place orders or ask questions about the program, contact Davis or Lasater. Please try to restrict phone calls between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

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