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September 2009 News News page Archive

Student intern Jaqueline Sapio (left) prepares to assist Meals on Wheels driver Dixie Pascoe with home deliveries.
Student Intern Experiences “Meals on Wheels” Program Firsthand

A story written by Jaqueline Sapio, a student intern, about her experience assisting with the delivery of meals.

As a student, you listen to lectures, read books and take tests regarding the elderly, but you really don’t get the full picture regarding the elderly until you visit with them or deliver a hot meal to them. As part of my internship with Washington-Morgan Community Action, I recently was granted the opportunity to ride along with one of the drivers and help deliver meals on her usual route for the Meals on Wheels program. That brief time spent delivering meals to homebound elderly ended up being the best educational and emotional experience I have had during college.

When I first arrived at the Senior Nutrition Program of Washington-Morgan Community Action, I witnessed drivers not only filling out their normal paperwork but sharing information in regards to delivery techniques. Although one driver had been on her route for over 6 years, she was taking advice from a driver who was in her first year on the route. It was something to watch them share experiences and offer each other advice. They take their job very seriously and with pride.

In the kitchen, the cooks had their routine down and were busily working. Everyone had a job to do and was carrying through with a smile.

As we left the Senior Nutrition Program of Washington-Morgan Community Action, I was taken with the driver’s knowledge, routine and pleasant personality. She greeted every person that we delivered meals to with a caring smile and told them to have a wonderful day. Everyone that we delivered to was waiting anxiously for the delivered meals. The meals are all kept hot and the drinks cold. In many cases, this is the only hot meal a person receives. My heart went out to these individuals. A delivered meal may be the only human contact some of these elderly have. And because of this fact, my driver told me stories about how she “checks” on her clients to ensure they are doing ok.

We delivered to apartments and homes in town and then into the rural areas. Some of our stops were to people I had met before on visits and was eager to see how they were doing. My special “Italian” lady was ill and in bed that day when we delivered her meal. I had become quite fond of her during a previous home visit and was concerned for her well-being. I later found out that she had recouped and was feeling better. One can not help but build a bond with and be concerned about those you visit on a daily basis.

I can’t say enough about the service that Washington-Morgan Community Action does for the elderly in these two counties. They are all such caring people and all truly enjoy their jobs. It was inspiring to watch my driver for the brief time I was with her. It was an honor to be part of such a great venture.

Since 1972, the Senior Nutrition Program of Washington-Morgan Community Action has been providing hot, nutritious meals to seniors 60 years of age and older. Program service settings include congregate and home delivered meals, depending on the individual’s needs. The Senior Nutrition Program provides an average of 400 meals a day to seniors in Washington and Morgan Counties. The meals are provided to the seniors on a donation basis. The donation requested is $3.00 per meal.

The successful program allows seniors to receive the kind of nutrition they need to maintain their health. The Senior Nutrition Program has congregate meal sites located in Marietta, Belpre, Lower Salem, New Matamoras, Beverly, Layman and McConnelsville. And the home delivered meal routes serve seniors throughout both counties. About half of the 400 meals are home delivered meals and unfortunately at this time there is a waiting list for the home delivered meal program.

Along with Title III funds from the Older Americans Act and the Washington County Senior Services Levy, the United Way of Washington County and the United Way Alliance of the Mid Ohio Valley are major funding sources for the Senior Nutrition Program. Without the United Way’s funding, fewer seniors would receive home delivered meals.

Washington-Morgan Community Action Washington and Morgan Counties, Ohio

218 Putnam Street, Marietta, OH 45750 (740) 373-3745
50 W. Third Street, PO Box 398, Malta, OH 43758
(740) 962-3827