Meals on Wheels delivers more than food
Volunteers with the Cleveland Heights Meals on Wheels program deliver a hot and a cold meal four days a week to 18–22 homebound senior clients.
The program began in Cleveland Heights in 1978 with the goal of providing nutritious food, a friendly visit, and a quick safety check.
The food is prepared by the kitchen staff at McGregor Retirement Community, and volunteers pack the meals into individual portions at the Fairmount Presbyterian Church kitchen.
Additional volunteers are needed.
Volunteer opportunities include using a vehicle to pick up the containers of hot and cold food at McGregor and transporting it to the church, packing the food in individual portions in the Fairmount Presbyterian kitchen, and using a vehicle to deliver the meals to seniors.
There are 20 current volunteers, most of whom dedicate about two hours (usually 10 a.m. to noon), one or two days a week, to the program.
Some volunteers perform several roles; others volunteer for just one. Since COVID began, the volunteers have worn masks and limited indoor contact.
“Although the food delivery is a really important aspect of Meals on Wheels,” said Greta De Meyer, treasurer of the group, “another valuable part of this program is that a friendly person is there to say 'hi' and check in with the senior.”
The Cleveland Heights Office on Aging refers senior citizens to the program, which is part of the national Meals on Wheels network of community-based programs. The organization has a board of directors that administers the program and works with Office on Aging staff, including Supervisor Dynesha Stover-McDonald.
If interested in receiving meals, senior citizens or a family member can contact the Office on Aging at 216-691-7377. The cost of the program is $6.25 per day for two meals: a hot meal and a cold, bagged meal. The service is available to long-term homebound persons and to those experiencing shorter-term limitations, after surgery or serious injury, for example. Some meals may qualify to be subsidized.
To volunteer for the program, contact the Office on Aging at the number above.
To donate to the program, send funds to Meals on Wheels of Cleveland Heights Inc., P.O. Box 18499, Cleveland Heights, 44118-0499.
Meals on Wheels America is a national membership organization with 5,000 community-based programs dedicated to improving the lives of senior neighbors. Most communities have a Meals on Wheels program.
Joy Henderson is a volunteer with Meals on Wheels.