Posted: Monday, March 18th 2013 at 1:08pm
Gainesville-Hall Meals on Wheels reaches milestone
By B.J. Williams Editor
GAINESVILLE - For what's believed to be the first time in its history, the Meals on Wheels program will be able to provide meals for every person on its lunch list.
Program Coordinator Milon Christman announced Monday morning at the Community Service Center on Prior Street that thanks to a public-private partnership that has been working for the last 18 months, the remaining 53 people who need meals delivered each week should get service by June.
Christman praised the efforts of attorney Wyc Orr for getting the ball rolling.
"Nearly two years ago, local attorney Wyc Orr approached the Meals on Wheels staff and members of the Gainesville-Hall County Community Council on Aging to take seniors off of the waiting list and onto the lunch list," said Christman.
In response to Orr's community appeal, the North Georgia Community Foundation set up an account for Meals on Wheels and began processing donations for the program.
Christmas said it is gratifying to be able to serve the aging adults who have been waiting to receive the meal service.
"Some didn't make the wait unfortunately," said Christman. "They moved on to a nursing home or assisted living."
Right now, 53 people remain unserved, but again, that should change by June.
Christman said there is no "typical" client for Meals on Wheels, but most find themselves in a position where they can no longer safely prepare their own meals, either because they can't physically open a can or they can't remember to turn off a stove. Most are limited financially.
But Christman said the service provides more to these homebound senior citizens than food.
"They are lonely. They've been isolated from society a little bit, so it's a visit, it's nutrition and it just makes their day," said Christman.
Of course, once Meals on Wheels starts serving more people, that means the service will need more volunteers. Christman estimates the program will need another 30-50 people to keep the operation running smoothly.
And, a couple of new volunteers showed up Monday to find out more about Meals on Wheels. Once Christman made his announcement about the cleared waiting list, he piled Gainesville Mayor Danny Dunagan and Hall County Commission Chairman Dick Mecum into a Meals on Wheels van and pressed the elected officials into service.
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