BY DARLA TROUTMAN
In the United States, an estimated 5.3 million people 60 years of age and older are unsure about where they will get their next meal or the next, according to Hunger + Health and Feeding America. What?!
Older adults face a number of unique medical, mobility and transportation challenges that can be a barrier to accessing enough nutritious food. Many find themselves struggling to make ends meet and stay in good health on fixed incomes. At times, seniors must choose between paying for groceries and buying medicine — a difficult choice with potentially severe health implications.
Meals on Wheels seeks to address the needs of seniors who lack the funds or the means to get the food they need. The Schuylkill County Office of Senior Services subcontracts with Diakon Community Services, a nonprofit organization, to operate MOW in Schuylkill County, helping some of our most vulnerable neighbors.
The program provides short-term assistance to individuals recuperating from surgery or illness, as well as long-term service for those who qualify.
MOW provides nutritional and wellness support. The program:
- Provides a minimum of one-third of the Dietary Reference Intakes in one meal served
- Fosters well-being and safety
- Enables interaction (at a distance these days) between participants and volunteers
- Helps older adults to remain independent in their homes
More volunteers are desperately needed for this program.
Are you available to help pack meals? Or could you deliver meals in a specific locale? Perhaps a business, school or church may be interested in forming a team of deliverers. This program has continued throughout the pandemic, using methods adapted to prevent spreading COVID-19.
For more information about MOW and volunteering with Diakon, call Kathi Conahan-Baltzelle, Diakon Volunteer coordinator, at 570-624-3013.
MOW volunteers can be any age. However, if you are age 55+ and would like more information about the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, call Darla Troutman, RSVP coordinator, at 570-622-3103.
RSVP is part of AmeriCorps Seniors, a component of the federal Corporation for National and Community Service, and is under the local sponsorship of Schuylkill County Office of Senior Services. RSVP is part of the Schuylkill County Volunteer Program which also includes Community Volunteers in Action. Check out the Facebook pages for CVIA and for Schuylkill County Human Services Programs.