Agency Seeks Volunteers To Deliver Meals
The Area Agency on Aging (AAA), which is based in Towanda and serves Bradford, Sullivan, Tioga, and Susquehanna counties, also sponsors a Meals on Wheels (MOW) program that serves as a vital link to thousands of elderly residents who live alone.
In addition to providing recipients with a hot nutritious meal on weekdays and frozen or shelf-stable dinners that recipients can heat up at their convenience on weekends, the visits by volunteers to each home on their respective routes is also regarded by AAA as a “wellness check.”
“For some of these people, the meal driver is the only person they see each day,” said AAA volunteer coordinator Nina Stevens, who fears that a dramatic decrease of drivers—especially in the Wyalusing area—will force the agency to cut back to sporadic visits during the week and the delivery of more frozen dinners.
“This is the driest spell I’ve ever seen here in Wyalusing,” Stevens said of the lack of volunteers to deliver food to 30 people along two routes in the area. “If someone could do it just one day a week, that would be a big help. It would give someone else a break.”
Ann Cory of Tuscarora Township delivered meals for the agency for about five years. When other priorities began to conflict with the deliveries, she took a step back and now helps to pack the milk, dessert, bread, and fruit that accompany the precooked, pre-sealed meals that are shipped each day to the Wyalusing Senior Center (WSC) at Park Place Apartments.
“When you’re retired, you sometimes don’t know what to do with yourself,” Cory said of her reason for volunteering with the agency.
“I wish we had more people who felt that way,” WSC manager Connie Wilson chimed in as she put bananas into brown paper lunch bags.
The meals are prepared under sanitary conditions by Frey Foods of Montoursville and are reviewed and approved by a dietary technician to ensure that each dinner provides at least one-third of the recommended dietary allowances for a 51- to 70-year-old adult.
On April 29—the wedding date for Great Britain’s Prince William and Kate—MOW recipients enjoyed “royal” ground chuck pepper steak with gravy, halushkie, prince carrots, a princess banana, and dessert.
“I enjoy every meal, and I look forward to seeing the ladies,” said seven-year MOW subscriber Margaret Goldberg of Wyalusing, who will turn 99 on June 13. “I couldn’t live without it,” she said of the food. An agency caregiver also visits Goldberg three days per week, but her spirits soar when she knows that relatively new MOW driver Edna Jennings of Herrickville is at her door.
“I’m so blessed, and I wanted to do things for other people,” Jennings offered as her personal motivation for becoming a volunteer. “It just makes you feel so good, and it reminds me of how fortunate I am.”
“The people are so appreciative of getting the meals. For some, it is the only hot meal they get for the day,” said Stevens, who noted that volunteers, who receive a monthly mileage reimbursement, have come from many walks of life and commit to the program in different ways. Bob and Linda Porter of Wyalusing, for example, have delivered meals for many years, but only from late fall to early spring. On April 29, they wrapped up their involvement with MOW until autumn as they pursue other interests. Bill Burke is regarded as another faithful volunteer who will assume some of the Porters’ deliveries during their scheduled absence.
Stevens suggested that high school students who are licensed and have a clean driving record may satisfy their community service credits by volunteering to deliver meals.
AAA representatives will honor all Bradford County volunteers at an annual appreciation banquet slated for Thursday, May 12, at the Wysox Fire Hall. To learn more about numerous volunteer opportunities offered by AAA, interested readers may call the agency at 570-265-6121 or log on to www.aaaseniors.org.