PREBLE COUNTY —Prominent individuals from the Preble County community spent the week of March 16 riding along with Meals on Wheels drivers in celebration of “Big Wheels Week.”
This is part of a larger celebration, when the Meals on Wheels Network celebrates “March for Meals.”
The annual March for Meals commemorates the historic day in March 1972 when President Nixon signed into law a measure that amended the Older Americans Act of 1965 and established a national nutrition program for seniors 60 years and older. Since 2002, Meals on Wheels programs from across the country have joined forces for the annual awareness campaign to celebrate this successful public-private partnership and garner the support needed to fill the gap between the seniors served and those still in need.
Preble County Council on Aging (PCCOA) is part of the Meals on Wheels Network. Every year to celebrate March for Meals, PCCOA holds “Big Wheels Week,” a week when notable individuals from the community and county ride along with Meals on Wheels drivers to deliver meals to local seniors.
This year, Big Wheels Week was held from Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 20. Individuals got to see first hand the difference that Meals on Wheels can make in these senior’s lives.
Meals on Wheels Driver Rosa Corey explained, “Big Wheels Weeks is when a lot of people from the commissioners, the mayors, whoever wants to see what we’re doing come in and go riding with us drivers to see what it is all about. We’re up to 168 meals-plus a day.
“This way the public officials can see our daily routines and see about the seniors. They can also see where their donated money actually goes and who it benefits. I hope the officials see how important it is for the seniors to get the meals and make sure they can see the seniors smiles on their faces when they receive a meal.”
For Preble County Council on Aging Executive Director Shelley Ratliff, Big Wheels Week is a way for others to see the important of Meals on Wheels and the very real impact it makes on senior lives.
“People know that meals are important — you get that. Everybody understands that you don’t want a senior to be in their own home without food. When you can see it and feel it, it really makes it personal and makes you understand how important Meals on Wheels is. It gets inside of you,” she said.
Meals on Wheels does make a huge difference in the lives of seniors citizens. For many of them, it is the only way for them to stay in their houses independently. For others, its the only way they get a hot meal during the day.
Norma Barth appreciates the hot meal brought to her by Meals on Wheels, but she also appreciates the drivers and all the help they give her.
“It gives you at least one hot meal and that is your afternoon lunch meal. You can pick up and eat something else for breakfast, but at lunch time you have a hot balanced meal and it is usually really good,” she said. “I am handicapped and I depend on a lot of people helping me.
“I have never yet had one that brings a meal that has not been courteous and helpful. They are always helping if there is anything they can do for me. I am very fortunate to have this help. This gives me something I can know that I’m going to have. It gives somebody else for me to see and talk to. I really appreciate what we get.”
Lorene Halsey loves Meals on Wheels for the simple fact that it enables her to stay independent in her own home.
“I love Meals on Wheels, I don’t just like it. That is the one thing I have that lets me stay in my own place to live. If I didn’t have that, I would have to go into a retirement center. It is so much more comfortable for me to be home. That is the one thing I love about it and I love the people who deliver and the meals are all really good,”
Elaine Ryan struggles to prepare a hot meal herself because of her walker and wants to stress her appreciation to all who work at Preble County Council on Aging.
“It gives me a hot meal everyday, because I can’t cook. I’m on a walker and it is very difficult to pick anything up off the stove or oven, because I can’t take my hands off the walker,” she said. “It means a lot to me that the seniors are out there taking care of us — because there are a lot of seniors who deliver.
“I want to thank each and every one of them who takes care of us seniors from Preble County Council on Aging and I love them all very much and I appreciate everything they do for us.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH