Meals on wheels program needs financial assistance
When it’s high noon in Grass Valley, it’s not gun-slinging but meal-slinging that is on the minds of the folks at the Grass Valley Senior Center.
The High Noon Cafe Senior Nutrition Program serves hot, ready-to-eat noontime meals at the center five days a week, as well as delivering “meals on wheels” to isolated elderly in Western Nevada County.
Although the program is designed to provide meals to homebound elderly who are 60 years or older, most of the recipients are, in fact, more than 75 years old. Without meal delivery, a client’s nutritional health would suffer, resulting in more-expensive solutions such as in-home care or institutionalization. Also, receiving meals can be vital to maintaining independence, and are economical.
The delivery drivers also perform a “gatekeeper” function, providing a daily check on the recipient’s emotional and physical well-being, linking them to other services when appropriate.
Meals are prepared and packaged on site according to Department of Aging guidelines, and packed and delivered at required temperatures for food safety.
Most recipients are long-time residents of our area who grew up here, were merchants, worked in the trades, or as nurses and teachers, said Bette Worth, executive director of the Senior Citizens Foundation of Western Nevada County. “Now that they have retired, many find they have more expense decisions than fixed income can cover,” she said. “Knowing that they will have a hot, nutritious meal five days a week eases a burden.”
The High Noon Cafe program delivers meals to more than 185 recipients each day. Partial funding for 106 of those meals comes from the Area 4 Agency on Aging. Worth said that Nevada County will provide funds for raw food and packaging for 17 meals per day in 2003.
Recipients contribute to the cost of their meal if they are able. However, there are usually about 65 participants who cannot make a contribution, Worth said.
These seniors can be “adopted” by individuals, businesses, or organizations either in part or in full. Smaller contributions are combined and assigned to cover meals for a particular recipient.
Meals on Wheels
at a Glance
? A typical route serves 18 meals a day and covers 15 miles. Raw food, packaging, and mileage for this route costs $40 per day.
? Food and packaging for meals for one senior for one month cost $45. That1s $540 a year
? Food alone for one month for the entire program costs more than $7,500.
? Each contribution to 3Adopt a Senior² is matched to a specific recipient to receive hot and hearty meals, providing one-third the recommended calories and nutrients required for an adult, delivered ready to eat right to their home.
? The drivers who deliver the meals also provide daily social contact with someone who might otherwise be isolated. They can notice a change in physical or mental conditions. They also provide links to other services while building relationships that are important to the recipients.
? For every dollar contributed, two services are provided. Nutrition and Gatekeeper. Volunteers are needed as well as cash contributions.
To 3Adopt a Senior² or for more information, call the High Noon Senior Nutrition Program at 530-273-4961.
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