By Libby Rosequist
Recognizing the nutritional needs of the homebound, Meals on Wheels began with the Rev. Albert Gesler Jr. in 1971. Now in 2021, after 50 years of delivering meals to those in need, Meals on Wheels Erie is expanding its outreach to the residents of North East.
“Meals on Wheels Erie has been expanding our territory since our contract ended with GECAC in October of 2019,” Wendy Wallace, executive director, said. “We reached our meal deliveries to Edinboro, Waterford, Girard, Fairview and Lake City. Now we are stretching our routes into North East.”
Meals on Wheels Erie offers multiple programs to provide food assistance to those in need such as the private pay meal program for clients over 60, under the age of 60 program for permanently disabled adults, grocery shopping and delivery program and, most recently, the grant-based program to deliver meals to homebound veterans.
Meals on Wheels Erie is a nonprofit which relies on donations from the public, corporate donations, grants and the dedicated volunteers to keep the wheels rolling.
Volunteers do more than deliver the meals and groceries, they visit with the clients, check on their safety and report to the office if someone is not at home or if there is a concern.
Meals on Wheels Erie has modified its routine to suit the safety precautions set in place by the CDC due to COVID-19.
“We appreciate our volunteers so much and so do our clients,” Wallace said. “Although COVID-19 has required us to do this from a distance wearing a mask and gloves, we are often the only person many of our clients see during the day. We provide the critical nutrition and the social interaction so many clients are starving for.”
Meals on Wheels is accepting new clients and looking for more volunteers.
“Anyone who has some extra time to volunteer, I encourage you to give us a call to learn more,” Wallace said. “Volunteering for Meals on Wheels is so rewarding because you know right away you are making the difference in someone’s lives.”
Meals on Wheels Erie provides healthy meals, prepared by LECOM Senior Living Center featuring a protein, starch and vegetable accompanied by a salad, beverage and desert.
Meals can be provided for both lunch and dinner, as well as the weekends.
LECOM chefs cater to special diets, allergies and food likes and dislikes.
“I am very proud to be working for this amazing organization and serving as its executive director,” Wallace said. “Today – most importantly during the COVID-19 pandemic —we are growing to serve more and more people in need of a nutritious, freshly prepared meal and a visit from a friendly volunteer. We are looking forward to another great 50 years helping our community.”
To inquire about meal deliveries or becoming a volunteer, call Meals on Wheels Erie at 814-452-6930 during business hours.
Questions can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website www.MealsonWheelsErie.org.