2020 - meals on wheels

The Quakes and Wells Fargo are humbled and inspired by the amazing work of our frontline communities and neighbors in this time of crisis. Each week, we’ll be featuring and highlighting the work of one fantastic neighborhood hero, showcasing the great work they are doing and the organizations our community can rally around.

Additionally, a donation will be made to an organization or community project on behalf of each week’s hero. This week we will be donating to The Health Trust.

Since 1996, The Health Trust has ensured that Santa Clara County residents have the opportunity to be healthy. As a nonprofit operating foundation with a mission to build health equity in the Silicon Valley, The Health Trust believes that income, race, immigration status, language, age or zip code should never act as a barrier to health. 

The Health Trust accomplishes this through community grant making, policy advocacy, and providing services to our most vulnerable residents. 

“When Covid hit, we saw an incredible outpouring of support from funders and community, so more people could get served,” says Mayra ​Catalán, Community Partnership Manager at The Health Trust. 

One of their biggest programs, Meals on Wheels, has been a lifeline for many immuno- compromised and elderly populations for years. Some clients expected that the meal services would cease due to the pandemic. On the contrary, Mayra and her peers at The Health Trust saw the growing need for food, and were confident the program would not stop. 

“There was never a question about whether we would continue or not,” says Mayra. 

In fact, The Health Trust quickly partnered with the local food bank, nonprofit and private sector partners, and local governments to deliver additional meals to individuals directly impacted by COVID-19, including temporarily housed homeless residents at higher risk of exposure.

But with a growth in demand, there was also a growing need for volunteers to help carry out the meal deliveries. In the first few weeks, they experienced a significant loss of volunteers, because many volunteers fell into the high-risk category themselves due to their age. Part of Mayra’s job is to oversee all the onboarding and recruiting of new volunteers. In the last few months, Mayra has onboarded over 200 new volunteers. 

Since March, their scope of impact jumped 500 percent, from delivering 2,000 meals a week prior to the pandemic, to 10,000 meals a week at its peak. 

“During the first few weeks, it was all hands on deck,” says Mayra. Though it wasn’t an easy time of transition, Mayra says it was a great experience for all the staff to come together and serve the community as a team. 

Local vendors prepare fresh meals that are delivered through The Health Trust. They work with registered dieticians to ensure that all meals are substantial and cover necessary health standards for their clients. Many clients are reliant on The Health Trust for meals daily. 

Volunteer drivers deliver meals directly to their client’s homes. In addition to delivering meals, The Health Trust staff and volunteers are able to do wellness checks with their clients.

The Health Trust has seen over 1,000 volunteers in the last year. Some have been volunteering with the organization for 10 to 15 years.

“One of the best parts is seeing the familiar faces of repeat volunteers,” says Mayra. “More than half of the volunteers are new, but they’ve now been with us since March,” she says. 

To volunteer with The Health Trust or learn more, click here.