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Pay It Forward: Mobile Meals is going mobile

Technology is now going to help Mobile Meals even more as they launch a new app.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Five days a week, Mobile Meals delivers hot lunches to hundreds of homebound seniors in Knox County and they have been doing it for years. 

More recently, things just got easier for them due to technology.

"We always say Mobile Meals is more than a meal," Judith Pelot, manager of the Mobile Meals program, said.

And they are.

They are humans helping humans. They are that connection that many seniors don’t get and would never get if it weren’t for them and the hundreds of volunteers.

RELATED: Connecting Hearts: Grocery items for seniors in need

"I think delivering the meals is really essential for people but also my wife and I feel that when we visit some of the people we visit are isolated or cut off from their families or from their old community they used to be part of and it's really good that they have someone every day to look out for them," Volunteer, Tom Salter said.

He and his wife have been delivering meals for about a year now.

RELATED: Mobile Meals volunteers deliver record number of Christmas meals

"You get to know the people on your route and you think about them and you worry about them.  Like if they don't answer it's almost like a little panic and you want to find out if they are OK," Salter continued.

But there has always been a bit of a delay with sending and receiving information from the volunteers because everything was done on paper.

"We've been doing this all along. We've been getting phone calls in, people writing notes on route sheets. They kind of go into a system of us trying to get a note the file and then act on it and then you know, things can fall into the cracks," Pelot explained.

But, times are 'a changin' and Mobile Meals is keeping up.

"We are so excited! We have been chosen as one of ten mobile meals programs in the Nation. We are launching an app," Pelot continued.

RELATED: Homebound elderly get help with Mobile Meals

And it seems in this day in age, we can't do anything without an app.

"The most important part about it is a change of condition module. So after they deliver a meal and if they see something that's not right about the client or if there's a concern that the client is voicing they are able to report it back real-time to the office so we can help with the problem," Judith continued to tell 10News.

And already in less than five months, Mobile Meals has received more than 150 alerts regarding their clients…all in real-time.

"Overall the functionality of our operations will get even better so we can serve more people," Pelot said.

Pelot told us this is just the beginning. They are currently using this app for only eleven percent of their clients as they continue to train the volunteers.

"It gives them more time to spend with the clients and less time to have to do the paperwork," Pelot ended.

By the way… Mobile Meals is always looking for volunteers. If you are interested please visit them at www.knoxseniors.org/mobile. And if you are a teacher looking to help out this summer, they are wanting to hear from you.

Read more Pay It Forward stories here. 

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