AUGUSTA — With the emergence of COVID-19 some of the federal and state rules regarding who qualifies for Meals on Wheels have been temporarily changed, and now, anyone older than 60 who is practicing social distancing can receive meals throughout Spectrum Generations’ service territory. Disabled adults living with someone receiving meals also are eligible temporarily, according to a news release from Spectrum Generations.

Meals typically would go to older adults who struggle physically to obtain and prepare their own food, people who have chronic conditions, those recovering from medical procedures, and some who don’t have their own transportation.

Prior to COVID-19, Spectrum Generations was serving 800 people on the program, including those receiving food through two subcontractors. Prior to the pandemic, the organization had seen such a high need that there also was a waitlist nearing 300 people.

According to the release, through the generous increased funding from federal and state governments, as well as support from individual donors, grants from Harvard Pilgrim, United Way of Kennebec Valley, Maine Community Foundation and Central Maine Power, the waitlist has been cleared and Spectrum Generations can now serve even more people.

Persons older than 60, living in Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Somerset and Waldo counties, or the towns of Brunswick and Harpswell, who wish to receive Meals on Wheels, should call 1-800-639-1553 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays to speak with a staff member.

The program is deemed an essential service, and staff who usually have duties in other departments now closed have been redeployed to help support the nutrition program.

Volunteers are essential as well — with a current roster of about 100 people, that need also will increase as demand increases and delivery routes are added. Those who are interested in volunteering can call Jessica Bucklin at 620-1684. All volunteers will be screened and begin a background check process, but will be provided with appropriate PPE for their role, whether it be preparing, packing, or delivering meals.