Victoria rides out the pandemic
August 19, 2022Jim Oswald

At 70 years of age, Victoria is riding out the pandemic with a feline named MaMa.

Victoria relies on her cat, named Marley (but affectionately known as MaMa) to keep her company during COVID. MaMa (who is a male cat) is 16-years-old and needs lots of attention which Victoria is happy to give him since she’s spending much more time indoors these days.

At 70 years of age, Victoria relies on Meals on Wheels meals to keep her healthy and MaMa to keep her company while she rides out the pandemic. But it’s not just about the meals – her social worker from Meals on Wheels also checks in on her by phone to make sure she’s alright.

“Kimberley is heaven-sent to me,” said Victoria. “I’m not kidding; she has helped me out so much. I’m so grateful to her; she’s such a nice person and easy to talk to – she’s just been wonderful in my life.

Born and raised in San Francisco, Victoria’s healthy eating habits were minimal at best. Her daughter encouraged her to call Meals on Wheels at a time when her mother really needed some wholesome food in her stomach.

Victoria says she really did need help with her nourishment. A meal for her before meals on Wheels would typically consist of a sandwich scramble and a piece of toast with peanut butter. Now she’s at least eating two, sometimes three solid meals a day.

The San Francisco native misses her daughter, who lives in Nevada, but is grateful that she is able to live in her own home in the city that “she knows and loves.”

Before COVID-19, she’d walk to the neighborhood stores, not necessarily to purchase anything, but really just to have something to do. It was her outing. Today, it’s just too chancy for her to go out so she sticks to watching her shows on television.

“I haven’t been to those stores in months,” Victoria explains. “It’s really scary for someone like me with health issues to be out and about during coronavirus. I see so many people in my neighborhood not wearing masks and they get too close to me. “I’m in the high-risk category, I’m 70, and not in great health.”

She still tries to walk to her nearby Safeway store for essentials and makes sure to wear her gloves and masks.

I asked her how she handles being somewhat alone during a global pandemic and was surprised to hear that she has embraced technology to fill the void. These days, Victoria is on a texting site called Tribe which helps her stay in touch with her daughter.

“If it comes down to it, if I can’t take care of myself, I would have to leave San Francisco and live with her.”

For now, though, Victoria plans on riding out the pandemic by continuing to enjoy the company of MaMa and watching tv.

Note: Food insecurity is linked to poor health status and malnutrition according to Meals on Wheels America. Malnutrition can lead to loss of weight and strength, and greater susceptibility to diseases such as diabetes and stroke, not to mention increased visits to emergency rooms and longer hospital stays.


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