Mesa County Meals on Wheels asked for the community’s help last week, and the community was listening. Now, it’s time for seconds. Director of the organization, Amanda De Bock says, “Since the story aired last week, we’ve received $3,710!” Vivian Harris is a meal recipient and says, “I’m so grateful to these guys. They’ve been so good to us. They’re a blessing in my life.”
The Meals on Wheels organization has been serving smiles since 1954 while meeting the nutritional, and social needs of our most vulnerable population especially, now. “Our whole lives have changed with Covid. Everybody’s worried. Everybody has concerns. They’re stuck at home. They’re depressed,” says kitchen prep worker, Debbie Smith. Vivian knows this first hand. “I haven’t been out of the house in two to three months because I broke my leg, and my wrist.”
79% of the seniors are over 75 years old, 69% are women, and 59% live alone, but meals on wheels also serves as a senior safety check 100% of the time. Amanda says EMS was called this very Friday, September 4th for a senior that fell. “It’s a holiday weekend. If our volunteer hadn’t found him, he would have been on the floor until possibly, Tuesday morning.”
Daily home deliveries keep eight out of ten seniors who’ve fallen from falling again, but everyone says the kindness of their friends means the most. Ruth Winnicki says her hubby loves the program, and so does she. “Having somebody come to the door, and ask you how you are, and tell you to have a good day, it’s great,” says Ruth. “It means more than you can even think about. Just to have people you can talk to is amazing,” says Harris.
last week Mesa County Meals on Wheels is delivering meals drive thru style, and they weren’t just delivering meals, they were delivering smiles too. Well, today, they’re delivering those smiles right to the door. Nick Durand is a delivery volunteer, and loves this job for a different kind of paycheck. Nick says, “I get paid in smiles, and thank you’s, and God bless you’s, and you’re an angel. That pay is worth more than any money.”
Volunteers like Nick continue to serve the needs of 1,500 seniors in our community including, Pete Chapola, a retired police officer of 26 years, six of those on the SWAT Team, and he’s never forgotten his mission. Pete says, “To protect is in my past profession, but serve means really, the same thing.”
Both Nick, and Pete were asked the same question: How does it feel to be a hero? Nick scoffed, and says, “Ah! thank you!” Pete says, I’m no hero. I’m just honored to serve these people, but I’m no hero.”
Covid can change the way we do things, but it will never change the good hearts of our hero volunteers, and the generous people of the Western Slope. To be a senior’s hero, start by clicking here and donating.