CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The Charlotte Fire Department is connecting with neighbors in a special way. The meals on wheels program called Friendship Trays delivers free meals to people who are in desperate need of food during this health crisis.
During the pandemic, there was a decrease in volunteers causing a challenge when it comes to delivering meals to the vulnerable.
“We suspended all volunteering initially,” Friendship Trays Volunteer Coordinator Martha Cochrane said. “So those first responders stepped in and really helped us to keep delivering without having to disrupt our delivery model.”
The Charlotte Fire Department used to help deliver meals once a month, but that increased to twice a week so people could get fed. Friendship Trays serves those who are at high risk to the coronavirus.
“It’s a huge difference to the community,” CFD Sr. Fire and Life Safety Educator Amy Rea said. “Because we get to have some interaction with the community. They get to have some interaction with the public which is us - they are not alone. Somebody is checking on them and they are getting fed.”
Pamela Lattimore has been with Friendship Trays for about five years. She says it is making a difference for her and her survival.
“I’m able to get a nutritious meal,” Lattimore said. “Some days I am in a lot of pain and also I am legally blind. I have a hard time just trying to get a nutritious meal.”
Lattimore says her funds are lacking too so getting a delicious meal hits the spot and saves her money. She loves when her doorbell rings and it’s the Charlotte Fire Department showing up with food.
“Each year I start to love them more and more,” Lattimore said. “So they’re my angels.”
In addition to delivering food, firefighters also inspect smoke detectors and other safety devices in the client’s homes to make sure they are up to code. Charlotte Mecklenburg Police and Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office also help with this assignment.