Meals on Wheels driving local fight against hunger |

Meals on Wheels driving local fight against hunger

Post Independent Opinion
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Today is Mayors for Meals Day, so named by the Meals on Wheels Association of America. Mayors from Parachute, Rifle, Silt and New Castle already did their volunteer duty, delivering hot, nutritious meals to homebound seniors and disabled people on March 9.

Now it’s our turn, as a community, to show our support for the two Meals on Wheels programs that serve Garfield County residents. A simple contribution to the Meals on Wheels annual fund drive will help these programs continue to fight hunger and promote health through wholesome, balanced meals.

As the recession hit in 2008-09, a Meals on Wheels Association of America study revealed that one in nine seniors nationwide – about 5 million people – experience food insecurity or hunger.

While the study calls hunger among senior citizens “a national problem of dramatic proportion,” effective local Meals on Wheels programs are fighting that problem. We are lucky in Garfield County that Grand River Hospital in Rifle and Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs are filling the hunger gap for homebound seniors.

The hospital kitchens are producing nutritious meals – with accommodations for health problems and allergies – and volunteers are delivering the meals all over the county. The Meals on Wheels program at Grand River delivered more than 10,000 meals in 2010, and the program based at Valley View delivered about 2,000 meals.

The homebound seniors, disabled people and those recovering from injuries pay for meals according to their income. Most pay $2 to $3 per meal, some as much as $4, and those living on very low incomes pay nothing at all.

The meal costs are subsidized by the hospitals, grant funds and by community donations. And while the programs rely on professional cooks and coordinators, they wouldn’t be possible without volunteer drivers. These drivers understand the importance of their service, whether they drive one day a month or every week.

Let us mention a few of these dedicated volunteers.

Mac and Rose Burnett of Rifle are regulars on the Parachute route. But when a snowstorm struck over the holidays and a four-wheel-drive vehicle was needed, Mac delivered meals in Parachute and in Silt and New Castle, covering more than 100 miles in one day and making about two dozen stops.

Corinne Tiffany of Rifle has instilled the spirit of volunteerism in her two daughters by bringing them along on meal deliveries for years. Now that her daughter Cora is grown and working, they are still delivering meals together – after Cora requested that their delivery day be changed to Mondays when she has the day off.

Meals on Wheels casts a wide net of community service and caring to fight hunger, and it’s a program well worth our support. Please consider writing a check today to help.

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