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Hope for the holidays: Meals on Wheels

Submitted by on 1, November 20, 2008 – 8:00 amNo Comment

When Bill Martin had a heart attack over five years ago, he got a lot of advice about things he could do to get better. One piece of advice was to call Meals on Wheels.

Every morning at 10:30, the agency delivered dinners to Martin’s door. And he found their help so indispensable he still relies on them four days a week to provide dinners that include pork roasts, hamburgers, stew and more.

“I’m satisfied with a number of things,” says Martin, 86, an engaging former newspaper editor and Navy man.

Martin, who walks with a cane, says he likes the convenience of Meals on Wheels’ service. He can go out a few days a week to get salmon, steaks and other things he likes for dinner. And Meals on Wheels takes care of the rest.

On the holidays, he says, the agency pulls out all the stops, offering all the basics, canned goods, candy and more. “They outdo themselves on the meal,” he says.

But the 35-year-old agency doesn’t just help seniors, or people on fixed incomes, director Rosemary Reilly says: They’ll help anyone who’s housebound, including people who have a disability or are just recovering from surgery, by delivering hot meals.

“A lot of young people fall through the cracks. There’s no resources for them,” Reilly says. “We deliver to all ages.”

The agency, which helps 130 people with meals and another 75 with another service called the Friendly Visitors program – which sends volunteers to make weekly visits with seniors – gets no government funding. It depends solely on donations to operate. And they estimate that $45 feeds one person for a week.

They’re looking for volunteers, donations and sponsorships. All the information is on Meals on Wheels’ website, here. They don’t take donations over the Internet, so send checks payable to Alameda Meals on Wheels, P.O. Box 2534, Alameda, CA 94501. Donations can be made in someone’s honor or memory. For more information about donating or volunteering, you can also call 865-6131 for Meals on Wheels or 748-0342 for Friendly Visitors.

And Reilly says to pass the word on the services her agency offers.

“If you see someone in need, tell them about our programs,” she says.

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