PREBLE COUNTY — The Preble County Council on Aging invited several community leaders to participate in the “Big Wheels Deliver Meals” ride-along last week, bringing lunches to many of the county’s homebound seniors.
The entire month is considered “March for Meals,” a nationwide campaign to raise awareness for senior nutrition programs and it is the second year the program has done the ride-along in Preble County.
The PCCOA hopes it gives several in the community a sense of the need at hand.
“It is all about bringing awareness to our senior neighbors who are homebound and need extra help, such as a meal,” said Ashley Bowers, the home delivered meals coordinator. “For most of our participants, it is a true eye-opener to the number of seniors in our county who are unable to prepare their own meal or even see another person throughout the day. We want everyone to see that the work we are doing here at PCCOA is absolutely vital in helping seniors stay in their homes.”
Drivers for the council on aging deliver between 525-550 meals per week around the county, but there currently is a waiting list as well. The program is funded by the Title III grant, the county levy, United Way, Passport and Comcare and through private pay.
On any given day, drivers travel around 60 miles and drop off around 25-30 meals to the seniors.
“When you have a waiting list for folks that need this, you can’t help but think, I need to be writing some letters and getting some stuff going in that fashion that would help our legislators take a look at it,” said Eaton Mayor Dave Kirsch, who did a ride-along on Friday, March 18.
“You can’t help but not take away the importance of the program and you can’t help but not want to get behind it and continue to support it. It is a well-needed program and we should continue to see it able to grow.”
Others who participated were Eaton Superintendent Barbara Curry, Rick Hawley from US Bank, Alexa Joyce from Heartland, Jeff Frymier from Henny Penny, Prosecuting Attorney Martin Votel, Viktorya Howard from Greenbriar, Michelle Kreitzer from LCNB, and Preble County Commissioners Chris Day and Denise Robertson.
Amanda Kopf from the United Way will be a guest of the program this week as well.
The program, while offering meals five days a week to seniors, also provides a sense of companionship to many as well. This fact did not go unnoticed by Frymier during his route.
“The dedicated employees and volunteers at the Council on Aging do a terrific job of providing a warm meal to those who may not otherwise get one. But they provide so much more than just a meal. They are also a great resource to make sure those living independently are managing well,” he said.” It was great to see the strong rapport the drivers had with each person – sharing kind words and being that friendly face they can count on seeing five days a week.”
There are a few programs – as mentioned – that help support these meals but they are still not able to reach everyone that may need them. The PCCOA does accept donations, and anyone interesting in helping fund the meals in anyway can call 937-456-4947 and speak with Rhonda Innis about making a donation to Home Delivered Meals.
Checks can be sent to Preble County Council on Aging, 800 E. Saint Clair St. Eaton, OH 45320.
Reach Jeremy Erskine at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @jerskine_RH.