Meals on Wheels opens ‘Drive for Fun’

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 6, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Suffolk Meals on Wheels (SMOW) yesterday announced its annual &uot;Fund Drive to Fun&uot; during March. Sharon DeWitt, the program director for SMOW and said that this year’s drive will coincide with the annual March for Meals Campaign which is held each year to insure that no senior goes to bed hungry in the City of Suffolk and Windsor.

&uot;March for Meals is a community event which means that we are calling on the citizens of our community, everyone of them, to help us serve our neighbors. In fact, we can’t achieve our goal without community support and real, direct help,&uot; she said.

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The program currently serves 80 seniors two meals per day. Without it, DeWitt said that those individuals might go all day without a meal.

&uot;Not only would they be hungry but they would also suffer long-term consequences of malnutrition, deteriorating health and in some cases, social isolation,&uot; she said. &uot;We also know there are many seniors in similar situations out there that we don’t have the resources to reach.&uot;

Meals are delivered midday Monday through Friday, with major holidays and weekends excluded. Meals are delivered by volunteers in their own cars at their own expense. With volunteer help, meals are maintained at a lower cost. The hot noon-day meals consist of a serving of meat, two vegetables, salad, roll, dessert and beverage. A box supper meal was added to the program in October, 1998, and consists of a sandwich, fruit, salad and beverage. Meals are prepared and purchased from Obici Hospital Food Service Department and consists of a three-week menu cycle. Careful planning is given to special dietary needs. Recipients are charged $4 per day and $20 per week for two meals.

Application for meal service is open to any resident of Suffolk or Windsor and referrals may be made by physicians, hospitals, social and health agencies and churches.

The program receives financial support from Obici Hospital, recipient fees fund raising, donations, grants, volunteer services and a service contract with Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia.

It does not receive any city, state or federal funding nor is it associated with the United Way other than as a write-in designee.

&uot;Right now we need money and we need volunteers. It’s as simple as that. So we are inviting the community to work with us.

&uot;We also hope that the funds we raise and the commitment for help that we get during the month of March will be enough to help us provide meals for hungry seniors every day. That is really what effort is all about,&uot; said DeWitt.

SMOW is an active member of the Meals on Wheels Assoc. of America known as MOWAA. This association is America’s oldest and largest organization representing those who provide meal services to those in need.. All contributions to SMOW are tax-deductible. Checks should be made payable to Suffolk Meals on Wheels and sent to P.O. Box 1100, Suffolk, Virginia 23439. For more information call 934-4911.