Door-delivered meals help keep community members in their homes
Alverda Cook swears by Meals on Wheels.
“I can’t cook for myself anymore and appreciate it,” said the 80-year-old Gothenburg resident.
Before Alverda’s husband, Don, was confined to home, the couple used to go to the Senior Center for the noon meal.
Later, they both received delivered home-cooked meals until Don was admitted to Hilltop Estates Care Center six months ago.
Meals on Wheels board member Kendra Fecht is convinced that the meals, cooked at the Senior Center and taken to homes in coolers by volunteers, keeps people healthy and in their homes.
The service, which has been available since 1976, will most likely be accessed even more as baby boomers grow older, she said.
She said 6,992 meals were delivered in 2011.
Meals used to be delivered from the Gothenburg Memorial Hospital cafeteria until the early 1990s when the Senior Center took over food preparation.
Now, noon meals, that include milk, are delivered five times weekly with a suggested donation price of $4.50.
An idea that some families and friends of loved ones do is pay for the service for loved ones for Christmas, birthdays or other occasions, Fecht said.
“If grown children live out of town, they are assured that their parents receive one balanced meal a day,” she said.
Not only do volunteers deliver meals, they also check on the well being of residents, Fecht said.
Eligibility requirements for the service are that a person meets at least one of these guidelines:
has a handicap
needs temporary help
is a shut-in
is unable to cook
wants a good nutritionally balanced meal each day.
Meals on Wheels volunteer Jerry Jobman, who’s delivered meals for 15 years, acknowledged that he will probably need the service some day.
In the meantime, he delivers as a member of his church and the Lions Club.
“I like it because I get to talk to people I don’t normally get to,” he said.
Volunteer groups that deliver meals on five different routes throughout town are from the Evangelical Church, United Methodist Church, Zion Lutheran Church, First Presbyterian Church, The Crossing, American Lutheran Church, Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, the Lions Club and Gothenburg Rotary Club.
For a few weeks during the summer, other organizations volunteer that include teachers and staff from Gothenburg Public Schools, the FFA organization and Antelope Livestock 4-H Club.
Besides Fecht, other Meals on Wheels board members include Janet Evans, secretary; Jody Macek, treasurer; Charlene Devine, Rita Thomalla, Shannon Sell, Deb Clark and Angie Barkmeier, Senior Center representative.