Waterbury volunteers, police deliver free meals to seniors during coronavirus outbreak


WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH)– There’s an effort going on in Waterbury to protect seniors from catching the coronavirus.

Since they are among the most vulnerable segments of the community to catch the virus, the city has started its Senior Food Program, making free meals available to seniors.

Community volunteers team up with officers involved in the city’s Police Activities League on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to deliver bags of healthy meals to any senior who calls the city’s 311 line asking for assistance.

Cesar Bustamante, a military veteran, is one of the seniors who the volunteers and police delivered to Friday. They rang his bell and dropped the meal next to his door in order to limit contact and possible exposure. The volunteers and PAL officers also wore protective gloves and masks.

“It means a lot because actually I’m starving because I’m running out of food,” said Bustamante.

The program also helps because seniors are being told to stay indoors.

Waterbury is a city hit hard by the coronavirus. At the filing of this report, the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 in Waterbury has jumped to 46.

“There’s no question we’re trying to keep our seniors inside,” said Mayor Neil O’Leary. “Be home be safe. Be safe be home.”

One of the dozen or so volunteers who helped to deliver meals Friday told News 8 they weren’t just delivering food to the seniors, they were also delivering a message through their actions.

“We’re here for you and help is on the way,” said Kevin Zak. “And that we love you.”

Bustamante was touched.

“I’d like to say thank you to everybody,” he said.

Mayor O’Leary tells News 8 that it’s a challenge to deal with the coronavirus. He believes keeping seniors inside without having to worry about food is one way to protect them. He’s using a variation of this idea to protect others, as well. 

“We’re also doing the same for any family that’s been infected,” the mayor said. “So, we want to keep those folks safe in their homes, as well.”

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