‘Meals’ seeks donations to keep wheels going
Shepherdstown resident Edward Moore knocks on Naomi Reed’s door to her home in Shenandoah Junction. He opens it up and she’s sitting in a La-Z-Boy watching “The Price Is Right.”
Moore, who has delivered food for Jefferson County Meals on Wheels for 10 years now, enjoys chatting with Reed when he delivers food to her each week. Last week, Reed’s watch was broken and Moore bought her a new battery only to find out her son had already replaced it.
“I didn’t have a way to tell the time but the clock on the wall,” Reed, 90, said.
The two, who chat like old friends about family and health, say their goodbyes after a while.
Jefferson County Meals on Wheels serves an average of 250 clients a year but is struggling in terms of donations.
Its main source of funding, United Way, hasn’t been able to provide as much backing simply because of the state of the economy, said Roger Dailey, president of the nonprofit’s board.
And other sources of donations don’t come so easily either.
“You don’t get all that you as for,” Dailey said.
With funds going to part-time employees, rent for the kitchen at Charles Town Presbyterian Church, repairs for kitchen appliances and, of course, all it takes to make up to 12,000 meals a year, Meals on Wheels could use all the help it can get, organizers said.
“The cost of the meals is the biggest part,” said Millie Wells, Meals on Wheels board member.
Clients are asked to pay $4 a day for meals, Dailey said, but Evelyn Griffith, administrative assistant for the program, said the meals probably cost on average about $6 each.
But some clients can’t even pay the asking price.
“Actually it’s based on what you feel you can pay,” Dailey said.
Dailey said about one-third of the organization’s operating budget comes from the clients themselves.
But, Alice Cook, one of the many behind-the-scenes individuals, said while there is a lot of cost that goes into the program like the price that goes into packaging the meals each day the group doesn’t forget those who do give, as well.
Cook, who comes in a 5 a.m. Each day to prepare the meals, said since Panera has opened in Ranson, she hasn’t had to purchase bread for anything. She makes bread pudding, stuffing and uses it as bread crumbs for meals. Also, cookie.com donates cookies as desserts for the clients’ meals.
“Every little bit helps,” Cook said.
And the organization’s board members and part-time employees are quick to recognize those who keep the operation going.
“This program couldn’t function without the volunteers,” Griffith said.
“It’s the aged helping the aged,” Wells said.
“Most of them are seniors themselves,” Griffiths said of the volunteers. “They’re all from all walks of life.”
And Moore has certainly seen that the clients he delivers to are the same as the volunteers coming from different walks of life.
“You do get to know people,” he said.
He delivers to a couple in a mobile home in Shenandoah Junction and a man along Route 9, upset that the Redskins lost again. He delivers to George and John Whitehurst, a father and son who have received Moore’s services for about seven years.
As Moore turns off of 480 and drives past Shepherdstown Middle School, he delivers a few more meals, which on Tuesday included hot dogs, beets, cake and other goodies.
Ted Bohrer, a Shepherdstown resident, catches up with Moore as they haven’t seen each other for a week. Bohrer, a 10-year Meals on Wheels client, has one thing to say about the volunteers who deliver his meals each day.
“I’m thankful for all these people,” he said.