Every meal has a story. Meet Diane.

Diane, 68, loves to be around people. Her warm personality and friendly nature radiate during conversation, even with a mask on. But surviving the pandemic, trying to stay safe and social distancing have been hard for her, as it means card games, group crochet and socialization have been put on hold.

“Being alone is hard and causes depression and anxiety.”

Diane found friendships at her local hot meal program, Center of Hope. But it’s more than a meal for her, as it is for so many seniors in our community. Before COVID-19, she used to visit the program every day. And though the free meal was important, it was the fellowship and community that fed her soul.

Now the program offers meals drive-thru style to limit personal contact, as well as nonperishables, fresh produce and bakery items from the pantry. Because of the food Diane receives here, she’s able to ensure her bills are paid each month. Living on social security and a modest pension help her get by, but she admits she lives paycheck to paycheck. If it weren’t for Center of Hope, she knows things would be much more difficult for her.

For now, Diane will keep her distance as volunteers bring food out to her car, but she’s looking forward to seeing her friends again, in what has become her second home.