Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island’s annual fundraiser, “Festival of Meals,” will premiere as a virtual telethon on Sunday, Oct. 11 and air throughout October as a half-hour program across WPRI 12 channels.

The program, which seeks to raise $30k to help support the organization’s vital programming, is being aired in lieu of a traditional in-person gala event due to the COVID-19 pandemic and features first-person testimony from Meals on Wheels of RI homebound senior clients.

“As it has changed our entire world, COVID-19 has caused us to do our work differently,” said Executive Director Meghan Grady. “We’re proud that, with the support of our sponsors and supporters, we’ve been able to continue work without disruption—and with the proper modifications—throughout the pandemic. But, there is still more we need to do to ensure we can continue our mission of helping homebound Rhode Island seniors healthily and safely with independence.”

During “Festival of Meals,” viewers will hear from Meals on Wheels of RI clients including Phyllis, 90, whose life was saved by her delivery driver after she had fallen while trying to reach something from her closet shelf.

Wheelchair bound, Phyllis also had a broken life-alert bracelet and was unable to call for help after her evening fall. It wasn’t until her driver arrived the next morning that anyone knew she had fallen. By that time, she had become severely dehydrated and was in need of immediate medical attention.

“I don’t know what else I would have done,” Phyllis, who is now back at home said. “I’m grateful to be alive.”

Viewers will also hear from Douglas, an 80-year-old Korean War veteran, who credits Meals on Wheels of RI with helping him stay out of an assisted living facility and Janice, who says it’s the comfort of companionship her driver offers that keeps her going, among other client voices.

“Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island’s ability to offer our clients not only the meals they need to stay physically healthy, but also the wellbeing checks that save lives and the socialization that helps them feel less isolated and lonely—especially during this time—is unmatched in our state,” said Board Chair Kevin Millonzi. “We are asking all Rhode Islanders to help us continue this important work by making a gift during October. As an independent nonprofit, every dollar donate to Meals on Wheels of RI goes directly to helping a Rhode Islander in need.”

“Emceed” by 12 News Politics Editor Ted Nesi and 12 News Anchor Kim Kalunian, “Festival of Meals” premieres Sunday, Oct. 11 at 8:30 a.m. on Fox Providence, at 11:30 a.m. on the CW Providence, and at 9:30 p.m. on MyRI TV. These airtimes repeat on Sunday, Oct. 18. It will also air weekdays, Oct. 12-Oct. 30, at 11:30 a.m.. on the CW Providence.

For more information, a complete list of show times and to make a donation, visit www.rimeals.org.