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‘More Than a Meal': Meals on Wheels Helps San Diego Seniors Amid Fire Watch

In an effort to prevent more wildfires amid hazardous Santa Ana conditions, San Diego Gas and Electric cut power to tens of thousands of customers -- but for the county’s seniors, outages are more than inconvenient, they’re dangerous.

Nearly 2,000 San Diegans depend on Meals on Wheels, a food delivery and social service for seniors. But delivering meals on days with a Red Flag Warning can prove difficult, according to Meals on Wheels San Diego East County Manager Janaira Quigley.

“I'm nervous for the elderly that can't get out and can't move. And especially during fire season, I really wonder what (their) other options would be if Meals on Wheels or another nonprofit organizations weren't around to help people that needed it,” Quigley said.

June Kaufman, 78, lives in Alpine where the strong winds blew out one of her windows, leaving her in the cold and in dark during the safety outages.

Meals on Wheel delivered a radio and blanket to Kaufman, as well as food.

“The old are often forgotten. That blanket is everything,” Kaufman said.

Kaufman is unable to walk, and Meals on Wheels is often her only social interaction, she said.

“It's definitely more than a meal,” Kaufman told NBC 7.

Meals on Wheels partners with San Diego Fire-Rescue to alert crews about homes where residents may need help to evacuate.

To donate or volunteer with Meals on Wheels in San Diego, visit the non-profit’s website.

The public safety power shut-offs began overnight Wednesday and by 10 a.m., nearly 25,000 customers across San Diego County -- from Alpine to Rancho Santa Fe and as far north as San Juan Capistrano -- were without electricity.

A real-time outage map can be found here.

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