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Meal program a lifesaver for many

There’s nothing like a home-cooked to bring a smile to one’s face. What’s even better is having it delivered by someone with an equally bright smile.

That scenario plays out each weekday in Boulder City as volunteers for the Meals on Wheels program deliver fresh meals to area senior citizens who are unable to leave their homes.

Last week, the Senior Center of Boulder City celebrated March for Meals, a campaign to promote the awareness of the food-delivery program. Community leaders were invited to join the volunteers as they delivered meals, with the celebration culminating in Saturday’s Rock, Roll & Stroll fundraiser.

The Meals on Wheels program delivers 50-60 freshly made meals daily Monday through Friday, with a frozen meals for weekends delivered on Fridays. It costs the center roughly $77,000 a year to operate the program.

Seniors are asked for a $2 donation per day per meal, but those who cannot afford the fee are still treated to a good meal. Saturday’s fundraiser will make it possible for the program to offset those costs.

In addition to delivering a fresh meal, the stops provide an opportunity for the volunteers to check on the recipient’s welfare. A friendly “Hello” and maybe a scratch behind the ear for their dog accompanies each short visit.

Those visits provide a much-needed lifeline to the outside world. Quite a number of those who receive the meals live alone, and many of the recipients eagerly await their daily delivery and visit.

And if drivers notice something is off with a recipient, it is noted on the chart that must be turned in daily to the program coordinator.

I saw this in action first-hand last Thursday as I accompanied Alan Bowman on his route. I tagged along with Alan last year, too.

The people on his route were glad to see him, and somewhat surprised when I showed up. Some were upset that there was a change in their routine and others were happy to have someone new to chat with.

In either case, I think it was the chance to interact with another person that was most welcomed.

Boulder City is fortunate to have volunteers like Alan and the many others who work daily to prepare and deliver the meals, or raise the funds to buy the food. Their devotion does not go unnoticed and their only reward is the smiles they get at each stop. And that is more than enough.

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at hsaylor@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.

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