March For Meals Fo­cuses On Home­bound

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Lynn Kut­ter

FARM­ING­TON — Each year, se­nior cen­ters in Wash­ing­ton County take the month of March to bring aware­ness to se­nior hunger and point to the im­por­tance of de­liv­er­ing hot, nu­tri­tious meals to home­bound se­nior adults.

March for Meals is used to help raise money for Meals on Wheels, a year-round pro­gram for se­nior adults who are not able to pre­pare meals for them­selves.

In De­cem­ber, Meals on Wheels pro­gram de­liv­ered more than 9,500 meals to the home­bound through se­nior adult cen­ters in Wash­ing­ton County (ex­cept Spring­dale).

Tina Batlle, di­rec­tor of Farm­ing­ton Se­nior Ac­tiv­ity & Well­ness Cen­ter, said it is eye-open­ing to her how many meals are de­liv­ered through­out the county. This num­ber does not in­clude any­one liv­ing in very ru­ral ar­eas, such as Sum­mers and Cane Hill, be­cause the cen­ters do not have driv­ers to reach out­ly­ing com­mu­ni­ties.

For 2017, Lin­coln de­liv­ered about 7,000 meals to home­bound res­i­dents. Prairie Grove de­liv­ered

around 7,800 meals, and Farm­ing­ton de­liv­ered 11,207 meals to home­bound in Farm­ing­ton, West Fork and Green­land.

Batlle said it is a con­stant bat­tle to raise money for Meals on Wheels.

Joanna Stricker, Lin­coln Se­nior Cen­ter di­rec­tor, said rais­ing money for meals is hard work but ful­fill­ing.

“It warms your heart when you find some­one who needs help,” Stricker said.

Farm­ing­ton, Prairie Grove and Lin­coln se­nior cen­ters are us­ing two fundrais­ers to bring in money in March for Meals on Wheels.

Farm­ing­ton and Lin­coln are mail­ing post­cards ask­ing peo­ple to make at least a $5 do­na­tion to Meals on Wheels. A $5 do­na­tion feeds one home­bound per­son per day.

Prairie Grove Se­nior Ac­tiv­ity & Well­ness Cen­ter is plac­ing jars in the com­mu­nity and ask­ing res­i­dents to put any loose change they have in the jars. The money will be used to “Make a Change for Se­nior Hunger.”

To be el­i­gi­ble for Meals on Wheels, a per­son has to be 60 years old or older, un­able to drive and not able to make their own meals. El­i­gi­bil­ity is not based on in­come.

“Home de­liv­ery is all about the home­bound se­nior,” Batlle said.

If a mar­ried cou­ple lives in the home, at least one has to be home­bound and meet el­i­gi­bil­ity re­quire­ments. If this is the case, both peo­ple can re­ceive meals.

Wil­lke said a home-de­liv­ered meal is more than hot food. It pro­vides well­ness for the per­son. The vol­un­teer bring­ing a meal has the op­por­tu­nity to check on home­bound se­niors and se­nior adults are re­ceiv­ing nu­tri­tious food to ben­e­fit their health.

Some peo­ple who re­ceive Meals on Wheels pay for their food. The sug­gested do­na­tion is $3 per meal. Oth­ers do not pay any­thing.

Batlle said peo­ple can donate what they can af­ford but the pro­gram does not ask for money.

“That’s why we do what we do,” she added.

LYNN KUT­TER EN­TER­PRISE-LEADER

Joe Batlle, a vol­un­teer for Meals on Wheels, de­liv­ers a hot meal to Cleta Guess, who lives at Sa­van­nah Park in Farm­ing­ton. Guess has re­ceived Meals on Wheels for more than a year. Area se­nior cen­ters are spon­sor­ing “March for Meals” to bring at­ten­tion...

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