The volunteers who deliver hot meals to Boulder City’s senior citizens through the Meals on Wheels programs provide more than just sustenance.
“The important thing is it’s not just a meal. It’s a wellness check, a warm smile and helps seniors who are stuck at home to avoid the isolation that is associated with that,” said Ann Barron, executive director of the Senior Center of Boulder City.
Increased awareness of the program is the aim of March For Meals, a weeklong campaign in which community leaders are invited to join the volunteers and deliver meals. Boulder City will participate in the program for the first time March 16-20.
According to Meals on Wheels America, sponsor of the nationwide March for Meals campaign, the program helps more than 2.5 million seniors each year stay healthy and living in their own homes.
Earlier this month, Meals on Wheels America released the results of a study it commissioned confirming that the program provided more than just a nutritious meal.
“The findings in this study show the great value of Meals on Wheels America’s work as their volunteers provide not only a needed meal but a friendly face and safety check,” said Lisa Marsh Ryerson, president of AARP Foundation, which helped fund the study. “The report reinforces our resolve at AARP Foundation to address the interrelated issues of senior hunger and isolation by pursuing both immediate relief and longer-term solutions.”
The 15-week study followed 600 senior citizens to compare the experience and health outcomes of people who received three levels of service: daily traditional meal delivery, once-weekly frozen delivery and individuals on a waiting list for meals.
Barron said the mayor and several council members have agreed to help deliver hot meals in Boulder City, as has Clark County Commissioner Mary Beth Scow. Dr. Eldon Clothier also volunteered to deliver meals and his staff will help at the center serving meals while he is on his route.
Barron said she expects more people to join the campaign in the coming days. Those who are unable to deliver meals are volunteering to help at the center, packing the meals and getting them ready for delivery.
This is the 13th annual March For Meals sponsored by Meals on Wheels America, which the Boulder City center joined last summer.
“It’s been a great relationship,” Barron said. “They offer online training, best practices and sharing networks.”
The Senior Center of Boulder City also was able to receive a grant from Subaru offered only to Meals on Wheels America members.
“We got about a 3,000 percent return on our membership dues,” she said.
Also, the local campaign will help raise funds for the Meals on Wheels program with an ice cream social and raffle at the end of the week.
Barron said grants the center receives cover only about 40 percent of the program’s cost.
The program serves 30 to 40 meals a day Monday through Thursday. On Fridays, volunteers deliver one hot meal and two frozen meals for Saturday and Sunday, she said.
Admission to the ice cream social, which is scheduled from 3-5:30 p.m., is $5 and includes entertainment and a raffle ticket.
“We hope to see people who we don’t normally see at the senior center,” Barron said. “We want to open the center so they can see what happens here.”
For more information, call the senior center at 702-299-3320.
Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.