CAPTION: Vicki Stratton and Angie Birt, employees at the City of Bellefontaine, deliver "meals-on-wheels" to Marilyn Altizer. The duo volunteer over their lunch hour.
“Meals-on-wheels” volunteers in Logan County logged enough miles in their personal vehicles last year to drive a quarter of the way around the earth. But it’s when they walk the short gap between the driveway and front porch that they make their biggest impact.
“It’s nice to have people coming in and bringing me my lunch because I get to talk to them,” said Winnifred Shreve of Bellefontaine. “It means a lot.”
The homebound senior citizen relies on LifeCare Alliance, a United Way Funded Agency, for her daily sustenance. A hot, nutritious lunch, a safety check, and some friendly banter mark a highlight in her daily routine.
“The food is the nourishment for their body, but the visit from the volunteer is the nourishment for their soul,” noted Sandy Musser, President of the Bellefontaine Rotary Club at a recent club meeting highlighting “meals-on-wheels.”
“It’s nice to be able to interact with the participants in the program,” said Angie Birt, a new LifeCare Alliance volunteer. “I just like seeing all the smiling faces. They look forward to having someone come in. They’re getting company every day.”
Birt and Vicki Stratton, her co-worker at the City of Bellefontaine tag-team a route of 10 homes on select Thursdays. The duo began volunteering last fall when the City adopted several routes as a way for employees to get involved in the community. Staff members rotate turns over their lunch hour making deliveries.
“It’s fun to meet new people,” said Stratton. “They’re very friendly and I enjoy the conversation. You feel like you’re doing something good.”
“There’s a big return for just a little investment of our time,” said Birt.
“Meals-on-wheels” couldn’t operate without volunteers, says Khisha Fallon, Vice President of Advancement at LifeCare Alliance. And because they drove 6,882 miles last year delivering 2,013 meals on nine different routes spanning all four corners of Logan County, many area seniors and disabled residents who cannot cook for themselves are able to stay in their homes when they might otherwise need to move to assisted living or senior care facilities. Meals prepared by LifeCare Alliance meet one-third of the daily nutritional needs of an older adult and are a tasty combination of lean meats, vegetables, fruits, starches, and dairy products. The menu never repeats during the month and options include a vegetarian meal, a soft or pureed meal, or a Kosher meal.
“They get a little bit of extra help from us with a prepared meal and a check-in in the middle of every day,” Fallon said. “Then they’re able to stay where they want to be.”
LifeCare Alliance is a new United Way Funded Agency in 2016, receiving $12,000 in support to supplement meal costs for clients, which are offered at no charge for those who qualify. Fallon says there is no waiting list and if you called to sign up an aging parent for the program today, they could receive a meal tomorrow. In addition to 89 people currently receiving in-home meals, 68 clients gather at six senior dining sites throughout the county where lunches are served. These include DeGraff United Methodist Church, Indian Lake Villas, Lakeview Young at Heart, Union Station, West Liberty Church of God, and the West Mansfield Firehouse.
It’s the mission of United Way of Logan County to facilitate successful agency partnerships that enable a safe, healthy, and caring community. More than just a fundraiser, United Way collaborates with businesses, non-profits, government, and civic organizations to help meet the social service needs of the community.
For more information, about LifeCare Alliance, please visit www.lifecarealliance.org or call (614) 278-3130.