Meals on Wheels program
Every year, nonprofits around the country celebrate “March for Meals,” a national campaign to generate support for local Meals on Wheels programs. I am a recently retired Meals on Wheels driver for the Southeast Ohio Foodbank & Regional Kitchen. I’d like to explain why this program is so important.
I was the sole driver for Hocking County for four years. Every day, I could not believe how lucky I was to go to work. Three days a week, I would load my truck with hot and frozen meals and deliver them to my friends throughout the county. I got to learn about their lives and their families and I got to see the seasons change. I made some incredible friendships and I had friends pass away.
One of the guys on my route was the best man at my wedding. Our Secret Santa program took off and if I had someone struggle with what gifts to ask for, I knew what to put down for them. My people are what I will miss the most about my job and I’ll be visiting many of them long after my retirement.
The seniors receiving Meals on Wheels are bound to their homes due to age, illness, or disability. They need a voice. They need to be heard on what their needs are. They need more people checking in on them. There’s not enough of that. I’d like to see more home health aides, more people who can do repairs on their homes and appliances, and access to more fresh and healthy meals.
When you see the need, you try your best to fix it. It becomes personal. These aren’t just clients for the Meals on Wheels program. They are our elders. They may not be in your family, but they are in your community. They need checked on throughout the year and not just during the holidays. When it’s hot out, are they cool and comfortable? When it’s cold out, are they keeping warm? If it’s not in front of you, then you don’t see it. We need to remember to contribute in any way we can.
I worked for the Foodbank for 20 years, four of them as a driver. I always said, “I wear it on my sleeve,” and I always will. Please remember to give your senior friends a call or a knock at the door, and please continue your support of our county’s Meals on Wheels program.