Meals on Wheels program really hits the spot |

Meals on Wheels program really hits the spot

Amanda Holt MillerPost Independent Staff
Post Independent/Kelley Cox New Castle Mayor Bill Wentzel participates in the Mayors for Meals delivery program Wednesday.

Renny Breda was cooking for his wife Helen up until January. Now they get Meals on Wheels. “You don’t know how grateful we are for these meals,” Renny said. “I like to cook but it got be a problem.”The Meals on Wheels program, organized and operated by the Grand River Hospital District, delivers more than 500 meals between New Castle and Parachute.This month, the mayors from Parachute, Rifle and New Castle have helped to deliver the meals in an effort to create awareness of the program and raise money. March is national March for Meals month. GRHD aimed to raise $32,000 this month to buy food for the program. So far, the district has only raised about $6,800, said Kris Daler, GRHD director of public relations.There are several matching grants the district will be able to apply for that could bolster the number, but the goal still seems very distant, Daler said.

“Getting donations from local people and local business will really help those matching funds,” said Mickey Neal, director of the Meals on Wheels program.The meals Neal and her volunteer drivers deliver are cooked in the Grand River Medical Center kitchen and then stored in heated and cooled boxes for transportation.The meal on Wednesday was Chicken Tetrazini with New Castle Mayor Bill Wentzel personally delivering the meals to Renny and Helen.”If anybody wants to know about how good these meals are, you tell them to call me,” Renny said. He loves the meals and said his cooking wasn’t bad, but he’s glad to have the food from Meals on Wheels.

“These are all balanced meals,” Neal said, leaning over the heated food box.Laurie Breda, Renny and Hellen’s daughter-in-law, said she was grateful to Meals on Wheels as well.”Even though they live here with us, my husband I work all day,” Laurie said. “We’re not their care-givers. It’s great for (Renny and Hellen) to be able to live here with us. And without Meals on Wheels and their in-home service, I don’t think it would be possible.”Neal said one of the primary goals of the program is to help senior citizens maintain their independence.Meals cost $5 each, but Daler said 80 percent of recipients are subsidized – most by half – some don’t have to pay for meals at all.

Subsidies combined with the program’s recent growth, require the hospital district to raise extra money for Meals on Wheels.The delivery drivers volunteer their time and work hard to make sure everyone who participates in the program gets meals.”On that snow day when Glenwood canceled school, I told them not to expect lunch,” Laurie said. “I was surprised to see this guy come up here in a four-wheel-drive truck.”Neal said the program has not missed a single delivery since she took over last May.

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