Suffield Seniors Thrive with Meals on Wheels

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Many years ago, my husband Bob and I visited a friend, Vinny, in North Carolina. Vinny told us that he had a commitment the following morning: it was his turn to deliver Meals on Wheels. We were intrigued and asked if we could join him. His route took us on winding roads through the Appalachian Mountains – a two-hour drive on which we met marvelous independent people, some in very remote areas. A few years later, when I saw a newspaper article asking for volunteers to deliver Meals on Wheels in Suffield, I signed up. When Bob retired, he joined me, and we have been delivering meals together ever since.

According to Wikipedia, Meals on Wheels originated in the United Kingdom during the Blitz. The first Meals on Wheels program in the United States began in 1954 in Philadelphia; Suffield joined the program in 1978. Today, this wonderful meal delivery program is active in the UK, Ireland, Canada, and Australia, as well as the U.S. The meals for Suffield clients and 25 other towns are prepared at the Community Renewal Team (CRT) in Hartford, which delivers meals to each town in vans with heated and cooled compartments. There is no income limit for recipients; this program is designed for anyone age 60 or older who is homebound.

Suffield’s meals get delivered to Suffield Community Aid (SCA), where volunteers for four routes pick up their meals five days per week. Volunteers typically deliver meals two to four times per month. SCA always welcomes additional volunteers, either to drive a regular route or to serve as a substitute. Bob and I deliver meals to Suffield clients on Route Four, which covers West Suffield. Although our client list changes over time, we often have some of the same clients for years, and it’s a pleasure to see them each week. We bring smiles (although they’re now hidden by our masks) along with a hot meal, but our brief visit also serves as a check to make sure that each person is O.K. If a person doesn’t answer the door, we report that to Suffield Community Aid so that the staff can follow up. Unlike that long ago trip through the mountains in North Carolina, our drive is much shorter. This time of year, our route along the roads in West Suffield becomes a feast for the eyes, as we soak in the fall colors.

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