Meals on Wheels celebrates 50 years in March

Pictured left to right: Frank Provance, Crown Point Board of Realtors and Meals on Wheels volunteer; Paul Acorn, volunteer; Jean Strong, administrator; Sandy Johnson, board member; and Alma Goodman, kitchen staff. Photo provided.

LUDLOW, Vt. – The staff and volunteers at the Black River Valley Senior Center are excitedly admiring a brand new commercial stove installed recently. A long wished-for addition, this is another step to help the center meet its upcoming congregate meal needs, and its growing Meals on Wheels clientele.

March 2022 marks 50 years since Meals on Wheels, the nation’s premier nutrition program for seniors, was funded. For Vermont’s aging population, it has become a lifeline for many – even more so during the Covid pandemic.

The team at the Black River Valley Senior Center delivers meals four days each week, every week, to more than 40 individuals who can not leave their homes or prepare their own meals. In 2021, that amounted to 10,000 meals delivered, by an all-volunteer staff, in Cavendish, Ludlow, and Plymouth. Like all Meals on Wheels programs, the operation relies on volunteer drivers and public donations.

In February, the Crown Point Board of Realtors stepped up and donated $500 to the program, and the Ludlow American Legion Ballard Hobart Post 36 donated $400 worth of gas cards to the volunteer drivers.

Jean Strong, director of the center, expressed her gratefulness for both organizations. “March is the 50th Anniversary of the Meals on Wheels program, which provides an essential service to seniors, veterans, and other compromised citizens in this service area – a service that can not be done without the support of our community.”

“The program is focused on nutritional needs, but there is also the social aspect of having a familiar, friendly face come to the door,” says Wendi Germain, the nutrition and wellness director of Senior Solutions, which provides support to the program. “For many, these drivers may be the only face they see all week. We so appreciate these volunteers. I cannot overemphasize how critical it is to have public support for these programs, through both volunteerism and donations.” Wendi noted that Meals on Wheels operations across Vermont rely heavily on public donations to keep them running – with more than 50% of the funding coming from local donations.

Those wishing to volunteer to deliver, as well as other service opportunities, can contact Jean at 802-228-7421. Donations to help support the operation in its 50th Anniversary year can be made by a check to the Black River Valley Senior Center and mailed to them at 10 High Street, Ludlow, VT 05149.

New stove installed recently. Pictured left to right: Alma Goodman, kitchen staff; Jean Strong, administrator; and Sandy Johnson, board member. Photo provided.
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