March 15, 2016 > Meals on Wheels celebrates
Meals on Wheels celebrates
By William Marshak
It is easy to forget that in every neighborhood, there are elders who need food; they canÕt afford it or they canÕt shop or have disabilities or conditions that donÕt allow shopping or preparing food.
Patricia Osage, Executive Director
For 39 years, Meals on Wheels volunteers have delivered nutritious meals every day to frail seniors throughout the Tri-City area. In addition, LifeEldercare coordinates a Visiting program for isolated seniors, teaches Fall Prevention in the home and provides free transportation with destination help to doctor appointments and shopping. Patricia Osage, Executive Director of LIFE Eldercare says that it is often difficult to find those in need since, due to their conditions and isolation, they may not be visible. Not only do Meals on Wheels volunteers deliver 350 meals every day, but they provide social contact and a safety net to make sure those they deliver to are okay. As a ÒwindowÓ to their clients, LIFE Eldercare is able to monitor Meals on Wheels recipients and notify other agencies if additional services are required.
Every year, public officials gather to officially honor this service that quietly provides hot, nutritious meals for those who otherwise would be malnourished. Meals on Wheels volunteers share a few hours with their neighbors who depend on outside assistance for a bit of cheer and sustenance. Some spend a portion of every weekday delivering food, others less often, but all show up with a meal and a smile.
In Fremont, just as every other weekday, volunteers gathered on Thursday, March 10th to wait for the LIFE ElderCare truck filled with hot meals. To celebrate the continuation of Meals on Wheels, several elected officials came by to support and honor those who provide this valuable service. In attendance were Newark Mayor Alan Nagy, a volunteer for many years and Fremont City Councilmember Rick Jones. Mayor Nagy spoke about the need for the program and told anecdotes of his experiences as a volunteer. He noted that ÒIt didnÕt take long to figure out that this program is more than the delivery of food. It is about contact with homebound seniors; it means so much to them.Ó
Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty reflected on his motherÕs experience with Meals on Wheels and noted that even though family support was nearby, Meals on Wheels volunteers were a source of hope and connection with others that cared about her. Supervisor Haggerty recalled times when he delivered meals to people who lived in very different circumstances and understood the importance of daily contact with Meals on Wheels volunteers. ÒIt is very important to stop, reflect and say ÔThank YouÕ to the volunteers.Ó A representative of Mike HondaÕs office lauded the Meals on Wheels program and noted its benefits across the nation.
Ceremonies concluded with comments from ÒVolunteer of the Year,Ó Larry Roberts, who began to deliver meals one day a week following retirement. Now, delivering meals every weekday, he says, ÒI love it and meet great people.Ó
3300 Capitol Ave
Fremont, CA 94538
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