Meals on Wheels seeks new clients

MCDONALD – Community Meals on Wheels has been around for more than 40 years, but the group has seen some recent upgrades to their equipment and are more than ready to serve even more clients.

Upgrades include a new stove/oven and new refrigerator. An additional freezer unit also will be purchased through a gift from the Hickory United Evangelical Presbyterian Church, according to the group.

The purchase of the stove/oven was shared by the McDonald Area Ministerial Association, which contributed $1,000; Meals on Wheels, which contributed $1,000; and the McDonald Presbyterian Church, which contributed $2,000.

Community Meals on Wheels is supported by several area churches, but operates out of the McDonald Presbyterian Church kitchens, said the Rev. Justin R. Amsler, McDonald Presbyterian pastor.

The group is supported by local churches throughout the greater McDonald-Midway area and delivers to McDonald, Midway, Hickory and Cecil Township.

“We’ll deliver as far as Bulger,” said Amsler. “We deliver to Noblestown, Oakdale, Cecil, Midway, Hickory and West View.”

Hickory Presbyterian, McDonald Presbyterian, Center Presbyterian and Hickory United Evangelical Presbyterian churches and the Methodist Churches of McDonald and Midway give support.

The group serves almost 8,000 meals each year and draws volunteers from the local community and churches.

Although clients pay $4.50 per day, or $22.50 per week, Community Meals on Wheels also receives support through local churches, civic groups and individuals.

“Some people have left us bequests, because we’ve been able to make an impact in their lives,” said Amsler.

Some of that support also comes through local businesses. For example, The Mousetrap, located on Steubenville Pike in Bulger, holds an annual motorcycle run to benefit Community Meals on Wheels. This year’s effort raised $2,700.

Those who want to make a donation to Community Meals on Wheels can make checks payable to Community Meals of Wheels and send them to Community Meals on Wheels, 119 Station St., McDonald, PA 15057.

Anyone who is unable to prepare their own meals because of age, disability or illness, have no one to prepare a meal for them, have no cooking facilities or simply are unable to prepare their own meals because of health or other reasons are eligible to become Community Meals on Wheels clients, said Amsler. There are no minimum age requirements, although many of the clients are elderly.

“We provide them with healthy meals so they can remain longer at home,” said Amsler. “If they can’t cook for themselves, they can still stay at home. It also allows them with human contact on a daily basis. They check on them, and I don’t know how many times they’ve found someone who has fallen or had an emergency. Our volunteers can call (emergency medical services). That daily contact is important to our clients.”

It takes approximately 50 volunteers – cooking, packaging, organizing and delivering – to run the program, according to Dorothy Penverthy, route coordinator.

Penverthy has been volunteering through the program for approximately 33 years. She began as a Meals on Wheels director, but eventually retired from the position.

“After I retired, I would come down and help,” she said. “It’s just a wonderful experience. The people – not just the volunteers, but the people we serve – are fantastic. I’ve gotten to know a lot of our clients. They become part of your life.”

Janet Crawford, Community Meals on Wheels board president, said she’s been involved with the group for several years. It’s important to provide healthy, filling meals to those who need them, she said.

“I feel like I’ve done something, that I’m part of something valuable,” she said.

Meals are delivered between 11 a.m. and noon five days a week, from Monday through Friday. Meals are not delivered on Saturday and Sunday or New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Day.

Clients do not have to have food delivered five days a week, but only on those days they need a deliver. Flexible payment options are available.

To become a Community Meals on Wheels client, call (724) 926-2104 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday.

(Wallace-Minger can be contacted at swallace@pafocus.com.)