This is a common question in most households across the country. However, for some homebound Blair County senior citizens, purchasing and preparing a nutritious meal is not an option. The Home Delivered Meals Program, operated by Blair Senior Services, Inc., helps to combat food insecurity issues for eligible senior citizens by delivering hot and wholesome meals. Over 600 meals are prepared and distributed per delivery day in Blair County, which totals more than 145,000 meals each year.
Consumers receive home delivered meals for various reasons. For some, meal delivery is short-term; they may be recuperating from an operation or medical condition that does not permit them to prepare a meal for themselves.
Home Delivered Meals consumers will receive a hot meal on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week, along with a frozen meal for use on Tuesday and Thursday. “Blair Senior Services’ dedicated volunteers deliver meals three days a week. Our volunteers not only deliver a nutritional meal to our homebound consumers, but also provide a regular check in on their safety and well-being,” explains Amy Graham, Home Delivered Meals Coordinator.
Home Delivered Meals are not only delivered to residents within the city limits, but to those living in rural areas of Blair County. In our more rural areas, church groups will often deliver meals to consumers in their community. Several churches volunteer to deliver meals one week per month. This makes an immediate impact on the homebound residents in their community.
In order for the Home Delivered Meals Program to continue to operate and assure that homebound senior citizens receive a nutritious meal, a large pool of volunteers is essential. “At this point, Blair Senior Services has approximately 100 volunteers that are available to deliver meals to our consumers,” states Amy. However, many more volunteers are needed. Amy explains, “We are always seeking more volunteers for our Home Delivered Meals Program. On a typical delivery day, four to six routes may need coverage due to volunteers having a medical appointment, being on vacation or an unexpected absence. We currently have 4-6 routes that need covered by volunteers on any given delivery day. If we don’t have volunteers to fill these gaps, 80 to 125 seniors could go without a hot nutritious meal.”
Being a volunteer for the Home Delivered Meals Program does not require a large time commitment. Generally, a delivery route takes approximately two hours to complete. Home Delivered Meals volunteers can function as a driver, a meal carrier or as both. “Often times, a group of friends or a couple will get together to deliver meals to our consumers. This allows our volunteers to not only impact the community, but to spend time with their friends.” states Amy. Furthermore, Blair Senior Services will coordinate with the Home Delivered Meals volunteers’ schedules, making it easy to volunteer. Amy explains, “schedules are posted well in advance, so we can make the necessary adjustments around our volunteers’ schedules. We also provide a monthly Home Delivered Meals Volunteer Informational Session, for anyone interested in becoming a volunteer. Being a Home Delivered Meals volunteer is very rewarding; delivering a meal can help to make a senior citizen’s day.”
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for the Home Delivered Meals Program, please contact Blair Senior Services, Inc. at (814) 946-1235 or visit www.blairsenior.org.