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Volunteers could bring hot meals back to shut-ins

Home-bound residents who receive Meals on Wheels may be able to again receive the daily, hot meals once provided for them, instead of the frozen meals delivered weekly.

As previously reported by The Standard, Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) made the switch from a daily delivery of hot food to frozen meals delivered weekly, both for the Senior Center and home-bound residents. It was a cost-saving measure, because delivery charges were so high. The cost of a hot meal, delivered daily, and including transportation costs, is around $9 per meal. The cost per meal for the frozen dinners delivered weekly, including transportation costs, is $5.68. The base cost of the hot meal is $6. The frozen meals save significant money. However, the quality of the meals was described as “not fit for a dog” by seniors, and those who received their meals at the Senior Center simply stopped coming. Denise Bedford, Senior Center Administrator was able to reinstate the hot meals at the Senior Center, but the homebound residents still receive the weekly delivery of frozen meals. In addition to questions over quality, many expressed concerns that homebound recipients would no longer receive that daily check-in.

However, James Stowe of MARC stated that MARC would not be unopposed in reinstating the hot meals for homebound recipients, if somehow the transportation costs could be defrayed. He claimed that Excelsior Springs lacks a pool of volunteers willing to donate their time to delivering the meals, which would bring the costs down from $9 per meal, to $6 per meal.

Bedford is now actively seeking volunteers to deliver those hot meals to homebound residents.

Volunteer delivery people will pick up the hot meals around 11:00 a.m. and deliver them to between four to 10 home-bound residents in Excelsior Springs. Bedford estimates that the deliveries will take around 45 minutes. She added that no special equipment to keep food hot or cold is needed, as that will be provided. She stated that they are in need of between 35 to 40 volunteers to cover all deliveries needed between Monday through Friday. Minors with valid licenses are allowed to volunteer; however, parental permission would be required.

“A volunteer in this position makes a big impact,” Bedford said. “You may be the only person these residents see every single day. Just the hot meal, paired with an in-person visit, can really make a person feel better.”

To volunteer, contact Bedford at the Senior Center, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. The application for volunteering can be found online at esparksrec.com.

By Samantha Kilgore • samantha@leaderpress.com

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