Meels on Wheels Delivers Independence to Seniors
For most of these meal delivery programs, volunteers are their lifeblood.Saturday, February 12, 2011
Driving to the grocery store to buy food. Walking into the kitchen to fix meals. These are actions many of us take for granted. However, they can be challenging for seniors like Lorrie. Lorrie lives by herself, she hasn’t driven in five years, and ever since her knee surgery four years ago, she’s had difficulty getting around. “There have been times when I haven’t felt well enough physically to be able to fix [food] for myself,” she explained.
Lorrie depends on Meals on Wheels to deliver warm, nutritious meals to her home every day. “The warm food – it’s really something that I wouldn’t have without Meals on Wheels,” she said. “I wouldn’t be eating this well at all.”
Lorrie’s not alone. Last year, Meals on Wheels of Greely served 54,134 meals to 1,810 individuals like her, many of whom are homebound. 90% of the organization’s clients are elderly.
Meals on Wheels of Greeley is one of more than 50 meal delivery programs across a 4-state region that combined have received more than $3.1 million in support from the Daniels Fund over the last 10 years. A common goal across the many providers is to help older adults remain independent in their homes as long as possible, something that Bill Daniels cared deeply about. For Lorrie, the program has helped her do just that. “My husband passed away over 15 years ago. I’ve been in this house 15 years. You really get accustomed to that. I wouldn’t like to move,” she said.
For most of these meal delivery programs, volunteers are their lifeblood. Meals on Wheels of Greeley has more than 100 volunteers who deliver up to 150 warm meals each day to people throughout Weld County. Larry, a volunteer who delivers Lorrie’s meals to her, “went out on a route one day with another volunteer and got hooked.” Now he delivers five days a week.
Not only do volunteers like Larry deliver food, they also provide a daily check on the well-being of the people being served. Meals on Wheels of Greeley volunteers are instructed to never just leave the meals. “We have to see each client every day because often we’re the only ones they see,” explained Larry.
For people like Lorrie, the volunteers are her favorite part of the program. “I enjoy the food, but Larry is always so responsive and enjoyable, uplifting, he’s got a good attitude, and it’s nice to see somebody,” she said.