WORTHINGTON — Despite a slightly different mode of delivery, Mobile Meals of Worthington is continuing to fill a need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Approximately 15 churches currently participate in the program, which co-chair Pat Arnt said delivers food to between 40 and 45 people in the community. There are roughly seven delivery routes in Worthington coordinated to help get lunch meals distributed in a timely fashion on Mondays through Fridays from Sanford Worthington Medical Center to recipients.

Shortly after coronavirus concerns began to appear, however, minor adjustments needed to be made.

“About a month ago, the hospital started bringing the meals to the front door,” said Arnt, noting that Mobile Meals drivers would normally pick up the lunches in the hospital kitchen. “The drivers usually meet downstairs at the hospital at around quarter to 11, and then it usually takes 20 to 30 minutes to do a route.”

Those routes and meal drop-offs are still being completed, but because of COVID-19 precautions, there’s now no interaction between the drivers and meal recipients.

“Normally, we’ll knock on the door and they receive the meal,” Arnt said. “If they don’t answer, they (driver) will know there may be a problem; there have been people with health problems who have needed assistance. For a lot of residents, sometimes it’s the only person they’ll see during the day or during the week.”

Still, Mobile Meals remains committed to continuing its mission. Churches undertake meal deliveries on a rotating basis, and — as a 501(c)(3) organization — the program benefits from donations and gifts from estates, among other sources.

“We’ve had great success over the years,” said Arnt, who estimated that Mobile Meals in the community dates back to 1959.

The organization hosts an annual meeting each January and meets every other month as a board. Volunteers for always being sought for delivery, Arnt noted.

“The police have a program at the college and some of those new recruits have given us volunteer hours,” she said. “Anybody who wants to help out and serve the community, we’d love to have them … and they don’t need to be part of any church.”

Volunteers will receive a weekly compensated meal, Arnt said, but most importantly lend a hand in the city in which they live.

“Someday you might need this service, or someone in your family or someone you know,” she said.

Individuals interested in volunteering with Mobile Meals of Worthington are asked to call Arnt at 360-8717.