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Isolation Week: Homebound elderly get help with Mobile Meals

Many homebound elderly members of our community can go days without social interaction. Mobile Meals, a Knox County organization, strives to bring food and company to the elderly who live alone.

If you spend a few minutes with Alvin, you'll learn he likes to talk.

The 89-year-old lives alone in his home. His wife died 10 years ago, and he has sons that live nearby, but he often goes a day without seeing anyone.

"I don't go nowhere, I just stay here most of the time," Alvin said.

According to U.S. Census data, there are more than 90,000 seniors age 60 and older living in Knox County. More than 40 percent of that population lives alone.

That's where Mobile Meals comes in.

"Mobile Meals is probably the number one way we're trying to help prevent isolation," said manager Judith Pelot.

MORE: Isolation Week: Stephanie's daily blog and video blog

The organization delivers daily meals to about 900 homebound elderly residents across Knox County. About 100 volunteers deliver those meals and check on the recipient's well being.

"It's very important for them to have that interaction, and just to know that someone cares for them and they're not alone in their home," Pelot said.

That's what volunteers like Patti and Gary West strive for.

"Some really invite you inside and really want to sit down because you're the only person they see that day," Gary West said.

"I feel like I know him," said Jamie, another homebound senior. Her son lives nearby, but she said she gets lonely. She's grateful for the company and food Mobile Meals provides.

"It's certainly a pleasure to have him because I'm here by myself most of the time," Jamie said.

If you know someone in need of Mobile Meals or want to volunteer, call 865-524-2786.