Caswell County is fortunate to have a Meals on Wheels program run out of the Caswell Senior Center that provides more than 30,000 nutritious, hot meals a year to homebound senior adults age 60 and older who are unable to prepare a meal for themselves. There are no income guidelines and no charge for anything.
Once a year a box of “shelf” items are distributed so clients have some emergency food in case of bad weather preventing the daily delivery of meals. The daily hot meals are cooked by Golden Corral and delivered around 8:30 each morning to the senior center where they're packed for pickups.
There are a number of drop off points around the county to leave the insulated meal bags so you don't have to bring them back to the center following the route.
Volunteers deliver the meals five days a week to folks all over the county. Right now the program is in desperate need of more volunteers who can help out. Senior Center Executive Director Jeannine Everidge explains, “You choose the amount of time you want to devote to this worthwhile service. That may be running a route once a month or more often if you can. Back before COVID we had about 175 volunteers. Now we're down to less than 100. At times, the Senior Center has four out of five FT staff running a route and at times running two routes at a time. We have quite a few Veterans who run a route several times a week to help us out.”
Just as important as the food itself, the socialization the volunteers provide for a few minutes a day means a great deal to clients. “We might be the only person they see all day. They're so appreciative of Meals on Wheels and it makes you feel good to brighten their lives,” says Everidge. “Plus having someone come by daily could mean the difference between life and death on a rare occasion. Someone could have fallen and still be on the floor or perhaps close to going into a diabetic coma...you never know. It's good to have a pair of eyes there.”
She encourages clients to register with the Caswell County Sheriff's Office program “Are You OK?” This program is free of charge to the public to check on loved ones. You can register to receive one or more phone calls a day from the Sheriff's Office to make sure you don't need help. (Call Lt. Melissa Poole at 336-694-2583 to get more information.)
Everidge explains that she knows it's hard for some of us to comprehend just how poor some people really are. Some of the homes are in deplorable condition with no water or no electricity, holes in the floor, holes in the roof, etc. “Many of these people have worked hard all their life just to have this home. Once they get on social security, they may not be bringing home more than $900 a month, which doesn't go very far at all paying bills and then trying to buy groceries. Food insecurity is a major problem in Caswell County.”
She points out that clients are not the only ones benefiting from these daily interactions. “There are many personal and professional benefits associated with volunteering for the Meals on Wheels Program in our county. For starters, volunteering is a great way to interact with your community and get involved in your neighborhood. Individuals have opportunities to meet new people, make friends, and establish relationships that may last a lifetime.”
Dana Willis, the Program Assistant of Caswell Senior Services, says it's not hard to get signed up to volunteer with Meals on Wheels. “If you are interested in volunteering, please come by the office and complete a Caswell Senior Services Nutritional Program Volunteer Application. Upon acceptance, I will then provide the necessary training sessions, review the Meals on Wheels Volunteer information Booklet with you, introduce you to your route of delivery, meet and greet other volunteers, and then, you are set to deliver hot meals, smiles, and kind words of encouragement to your senior client.”
“Actually, it’s more than a meal” says Rita Simon, Nutrition Coordinator for Caswell Senior Services. “Meals on Wheels relies on dedicated, dependable, respectable, volunteers with their own reliable transportation to serve with a sincere commitment to the success of the Meals on Wheels’ mission. In case you didn’t know, good nutrition is an important factor in a senior’s diet. Just think about it! You are helping to deliver in responses to a healthier lifestyle, to say the least, with other perks included. It’s such a great option for those who want to lend a helping hand! Volunteering is so important because it enables individuals to help others in a selfless way and indeed a terrific way to have a positive impact for Caswell.”
The first Meals on Wheels delivery was in 2006. “With this program, Caswell County can make the lives of many people easier and more fulfilled with just a meal a day and a little comfort for our eligible seniors,” adds Everidge.
For questions about Meals on Wheels and other services the Caswell Senior Center provides, please contact, Jeannine Everidge at 336-694-7447, or PO Box 1405 Yanceyville, NC.
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