It’s that time of year again that comes around too quickly. The snow is starting to fall and the days are getting bitter cold. We have had a few closures already this year. If you haven’t done so already, this is a good time for Meals on Wheels participants to start thinking about preparing for snow days or emergency situations caused by winter weather. AgeWell Services has had to close several times already due to road conditions and freezing temperatures, leaving us unable to deliver meals to participants. There is also increased risk of power outages with the heavy snow and ice. In this post, we’ll provide 5 things that you can do to prepare yourself for situations when Meals on Wheels drivers are unable to deliver meals:

1. AgeWell Services boxed emergency meals

First, watch for your Meals on Wheels driver to deliver boxed emergency meals. You will find shelf stable foods and fluids that are meant to stay on your shelf in case we have to cancel meal deliveries due to the winter weather. Keep them in a place that is easily accessible and where you will remember you placed them.

2. Keep emergency foods on hand during the winter

Everyone, not just Meals on Wheels participants, should keep your own emergency foods on hand during the winter months. Ideas include canned turkey or chicken (pull open top if you only have an electric can opener), peanut butter or nut butters, nuts, crackers, granola bars, dried fruits, canned fruits and vegetables, and bottled water and juices.

Be sure to keep an eye on the dates of these foods as well. Update your stockpile every six months and use items that may be expiring soon, toss out those that have already expired.

3. If the power goes out, keep the fridge closed

If the power does go out, keep your refrigerator and freezer closed as much as possible to keep the cold air in and prevent your foods from spoiling. It may be a good idea to move foods to a cooler with ice if the electricity is out longer than a few hours or if the temperature reaches more than 40 degrees F.

4. Make sure you have enough medication on hand

If you take medications regularly, keep a backup supply readily available so you don’t find yourself running out during an emergency. Call for a refill before you have less than a week’s supply.

5. Make sure you have food for your pets

Don’t forget about your pets, too! Keep extra food on hand and allow for extra water for your animals.

As winter weather approaches, be aware that Meals on Wheels drivers may not deliver meals if the road conditions are bad. Make sure you’re prepared with shelf stable foods, medications, and food for your pets. Also make sure you keep the fridge and freezer closed as much as possible if the power goes out.

If you or someone you know is interested in Meals on Wheels delivery in Muskegon, Oceana, or Ottawa counties, please contact AgeWell Services at (231) 755-0434 or 1-800-442-6769

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