Tornello said the food delivery team, which is primarily made up of volunteers, essentially acts as a wellness check for meal recipients, who have an average age of 84.
“We have a frail population we're serving,” he said. “There may be instances where the person doesn't answer the door at the time of delivery… If nobody answers the door, it kicks into motion: an emergency response on our part, calling a caregiver.”
Tornello said sometimes the person is fine, but sometimes something is wrong and no one would’ve known if it weren’t for the Meals on Wheels team.
“We save lives, we know we've saved lives,” he said.
He also discussed the sense of security and wellness the delivery people can offer to those in need, in addition to meals.
“The relationships that develop between them [are] just as important as the food we're delivering,” Tornello said. “Somebody sees me every day. Knows that I'm well, knows that I'm not well and can follow up on that.”
Meals on Wheels delivers two nutritious meals a day, making sure to meet dietary requirements, to people who are unable to cook or shop for themselves.
The organization has many partnerships with the business community that supports the cause. Tornello pointed to companies like Subaru and La Bella supermarket in Staten Island, which help gather donations for Meals on Wheels.