Meals on Wheels: 'So no senior
December 10, 2008 | Volunteers are driving cars full
of what looks like really big lunch boxes, and in some
ways that is just what these Meals on Wheels are.
Volunteers will deliver a nice, hot, full course meal
through the Meals on Wheels program, to elderly residents
of Cache Valley. Today, recipients will be getting a
beef and vegetable stew with a green salad, peaches,
whole wheat roll, brownie, and milk. The Meals on Wheels
program helps to insure that they are getting proper
County Executive Lynn Lemon became a strong believer
in the Meals on Wheels program after he volunteered
his services one day. He had family members involved
with the program and was a little skeptical. but quickly
became a believer in the goodness of the program.Tom
Hogan, director of the Cache County Senior Citizens
Center says, "Even on your worst day come and serve."
Tom really appreciated Lemon coming in and giving his
time to help with Meals on Wheels.
Although the food may be great and the program might
be nice, who guarantees that the seniors will eat the
meals? This is a concern Heather Davis has.
Davis is a student at Utah State University studying
to become a nurse and has volunteered at a nursing home
in St. George, Utah. She says that she has heard stories
of people passing away and once they go to clean out
the house and the fridge, they find it full of meals
from Meals on Wheels.
The fact of the matter is there are thousands of senior
citizens throughout the entire United States that suffer
from being hungry. Even though Meals on Wheels can not
guarantee that recipients will eat the food, irs mission
is, "Millions of seniors go hungry every day; we are
here so no senior goes hungry."
So what are the criteria to receive Meals on Wheels?
Kris Albretsen, an employee at the Senior Center for
the past 21 years, says a person must be homebound and
unable to fix a meal themselves. The program is funded
by the federal and state government, the county, and
Hogan said they have received about $115,000 in donations
this year and the county has paid about $260,000 towards
programs such as Meals on Wheels and assisted living
facilities in the county.
One of Lynn Lemon's fears is that federal and state
funding will remain at a flat level while the need for
increased funding continues to rise. In the past four
years, funding from the county has risen from $60,000
to $260,000. The county has an agreement to match 20
percent of the funds from the federal government.
Hogan says that about 10 percent of the valley's population
is senior citizens, and 12 percent of that 10 percent
receive the Meals on Wheels program. Last year, they
served about 1,300 meals to people.
But what if that food is being wasted and not eaten?
Heather thinks that the people that deliver the food
to the seniors should stay and eat with them.
But Kris claims that the seniors are really appreciative
to have the company for however little the time might
be. Those people who don't eat the food probably should
be in nursing homes anyway. The people that the Senior
Center serves can come, eat, and also enjoy recreation
at the center, such as quilting and ceramic activities.
Lynn Lemon believes that there needs to be more of
an effort to let people stay in their homes rather than
place them in a nursing home. He said that the way things
work right now, if someone cannot afford their living
arrangements and need help, the state will take their
house and their possessions, then pay for them to live
in a nursing home. Lemon believes if the state were
to let seniors stay in their homes and pay for Meals
on Wheels, it would be beneficial and cheaper to the
state, allowing the seniors to remain independent.
When Kris was asked what she thought about Lemon trying
to make the Meals on Wheels program bigger, she thought
that was a great idea but her only concern was the need
for volunteers. She said, "It can be a struggle to find
volunteers sometimes. If we had the volunteers, it would
The Senior Center is always looking for volunteers
to help with the program. The volunteers are trained
for emergencies and other situations that may occur
during time of service. If you are interested in helping
to serve in the Meals on Wheels program, they are located
at 240 N. 100 East in Logan, or you can reach Tom Hogan
at 755-1720. Like Tom said, "come and serve even on
your worst day."