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Valley Life

September 2, 2012

Meals on Wheels program seeks volunteers

Mary Lou Wilson has been delivering meals to homebound residents through the Paris Community Hospital Meals on Wheels program since 1985. Twenty-seven years later, she continues to deliver meals and has no plans of stopping.

“I like to help people and that is what I feel God wants me to do,” she said. “I enjoy talking to the people who receive meals and they all appreciate it.”

Wilson is one of several volunteers who donate their time to the Meals on Wheels program. PCH is in need of drivers to keep the program going. Drivers do not need to be a PCH volunteer to help.

The program delivers meals daily to Paris residents along two established delivery routes within the city. A typical delivery route begins around 11 a.m. and takes about an hour. Drivers are needed Monday through Friday and Sundays. They are able to bring along a friend to help deliver the meals or to just keep them company.

“Right now we have Saturdays covered,” said Patty Baker, manager of nutritional services and the program. “We understand that people go to church on Sundays and we’re willing to wait for them to deliver meals until after church ends.”

Drivers can choose how often they want to participate in the program. Some choose to deliver meals just once. Others opt to deliver them weekly, monthly, or whenever they can.

“The volunteers are the backbone of the program,” Baker said. “If we didn’t have volunteers, the program would not exist.”

The PCH/FMC Meals on Wheels program started in the early 1970s. All regular and special diet meals (excluding liquid or pureed diets) are prepared in the hospital kitchen. A lunch and dinner meal is delivered to each recipient once a day, seven days a week, except on major holidays.

Meals on Wheels delivers about 1,100 meals a month or 13,500 a year. The program has delivered approximately 500,000 meals since it began nearly 40 years ago.

“Meals on Wheels is a service that our community severely needs,” Baker added. “For many people who get meals, it’s their only visitor all day long.”

To help call (217) 465-2606, ext. 326.

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