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Meals on Wheels program needs mouths to feed

Meals on Wheels is looking for people to feed in the New Year, board member Brian Haynes said Tuesday.

The Sanford nonprofit has an unusual problem — instead of needing more volunteers, they need more clients. The organization works with Central Carolina Hospital to deliver hot meals five days a week to people living inside the city limits, typically people who are home bound because of age or illness.

Haynes said he thinks the need for the food service has increased since the coronavirus pandemic, but people may not be aware that there is a city-based nonprofit that provides meals.

“We aren’t at capacity,” he said. “We’re trying to find all venues to get the word out so we can make sure that no-one who needs a meal is without.”

The nonprofit works with the hospital to create meals that meet the diet needs of clients, whether that’s avoiding allergies or providing food appropriate for chronic health conditions, Haynes said.

“We don’t have complete flexibility, but if (clients) have a salt-free diet, or if they can’t have juices because they’re diabetic, they can get milks or something that’s going to be compatible with their dietary needs,” Haynes said.

The service is not free. Each meal costs $3.50, enough to cover the cost of catering the food, Haynes said. All the money goes back into the program, he said.

Still, the nonprofit will work with people under financial strain, Haynes said.

“We don’t want any client to go without a meal because they can’t afford it,” he said. “Within reason, we’ll work with them. We will not turn anybody away.”

Nowadays, the program is more important than ever, not only for the food it provides, but for the social contact, he said. Volunteers keep their distance from clients because of the coronavirus, but they’re still able to say hello and see a friendly face.

“That might be the only person they see all day,” Haynes said. “Personal contact is a really important thing. My mom used to receive Meals on Wheels in Western New York and that was a big deal for me because I’m not nearby. (Just) knowing, five days a week, somebody’s there to check on her and say, ‘Hi.’ ”

To sign up for the program or to volunteer, visit www.mowsanford.org or call 919-708-4181.

Health department workers have gone above and beyond

A few words of thanks…

To say that 2020 has been a challenge to many of us is an understatement. We have seen a virus attack our communities physically, psychologically and emotionally. Most of us know someone who has contracted COVID-19, had a close contact to a COVID-19-positive person, been tested for COVID-19, and/or have had to isolate for up to 14 days due to close contact or illness.

The isolation takes a toll on an individual, as well as on their family, friends and other loved ones. We know this has been difficult on the community and we want to thank everyone who has followed the advice and guidance of healthcare professionals and done their part to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

We also want to take time to thank the healthcare professionals at the Lee County Health Department who have been working behind the scenes, non-stop for the past 10 months as our community has battled rapid community spread of the coronavirus. Seven nurses, along with three contracted state employees, have had the primary responsibility of managing the COVID-19 cases and associated duties since March.

Some of their duties and responsibilities include contact tracing and case investigations, which can best be described as following-up with every confirmed positive COVID-19 case, and creating a list of close contacts that person had been around. The confirmed case, as well as the close contacts, received daily calls from our office during their quarantine period. As of Thursday, there have been 3,506 COVID-19 cases reported in Lee County. These 10 health department workers have completed contact tracing and completed case investigations involving well over 20,000 people at last count. These 10 employees have worked after hours, most weekends, and holidays, and have dedicated their time and talents to protect the health and well-being of our community.

The number of new positive cases continues to rise but we hope that the new vaccines will help to reverse this trend. Public health nurses will be taking the lead in vaccinating our Lee County community. In addition to the contact tracing and case investigations, the nurses have been working diligently to prepare for our first shipments of COVID-19 vaccine.

Training has been reviewed, tabletop exercises completed, and a sound strategy is in place to innoculate those residents interested in taking the vaccine. We started vaccinating our Phase 1a groups during this last week of December and are readying to receive additional vaccine and expand our vaccination efforts into 2021. We believe vaccinations will aid our efforts to reverse the growing trend of new COVID-19 cases in Lee County and hopefully be a step toward a return to normalcy.

Following the challenges of 2020, we are hopeful that 2021 will be a better and brighter year for everyone. Public health professionals and organizations have been working and will continue working to make that happen. And I want to thank our local public health nurses again for they have gone above and beyond in 2020 and we are truly thankful for all they do to protect the health and well-being of our Lee County residents.

Thank you and Happy New Year!

Volunteers wanted to transcribe historical records

Volunteers are needed to help transcribe records dating to the colonial era for the State Archives of North Carolina.

The project, TranscribeNC, is an effort to translate historical records that were documented by writers whose penmanship is challenging.

The State Archives staff has been digitizing colonial court records as part of a current grant project from the National Historical Publications & Records Commission. This program showcases some of the state’s collections while engaging the public with hands-on activities that will increase the accessibility of archival records. Volunteers can visit https://archives.ncdcr.gov/researchers/transcribenc to begin transcribing.

The documents are among North Carolina’s earliest historical resources, and the State Archives needs help deciphering them so scholars can make sense of their contents. The handwriting can be quirky and the terms antiquated, so transcribing will be much like solving a word puzzle.

“The current transcription project focuses on colonial court records, from the late 1600s to the early 1800s,” said Adrienne Berney, outreach coordinator for the archives division.

“Many of the records involve property ownership or criminal proceedings.”

Topics include slavery, indentured servitude, apprenticeships, marriage, maritime, business and trace, infrastructure, military and Native Americans, according to Berney.

Anyone, regardless of state residence, is welcome to help, she said. The top transcriber award was presented in October to a volunteer from Columbia, Maryland.

The records can be searched online at https://digital.ncdcr.gov/ digital/search/collection/p16062coll38/search/searchterm/subject%20files.