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Delivering the goods

Meals on Wheels provides plenty for local seniors

by Tim Croes
Staff Writer - The Baysider

MAYORS FOR MEALS was held on Wednesday, March 21. Pictured (left to right) are: Earl Weeks, Amy Braun, the Director of the Pearson Road Community and Senior Center, Ken McWilliams, the Alton Town Planner, and George Feeney, the Meals-on-Wheals program drive in Alton. Tim Croes. (click for larger version)
March 28, 2012
ALTON — As part of National Nutrition Month, mayors in the state of New Hampshire delivered Meals-on-Wheels on Wednesday, 21.

With the town of Alton having no mayor, Ken McWilliams, the town planner, stepped up the plate. McWilliams spent the Mayors for Meals Day delivering Meals-on-Wheels with George Feeney around the town of Alton.

Feeney's route is around 80 miles, but earlier in the year iT was up around 100 miles.

Feeney really enjoys delivering meals five days a week and seeing each of the seniors and connecting with them.

"It's one of the most rewarding things I've ever done," Feeney said.

Amy Braun, the Director of the Pearson Road Community and Senior Center, knows the value of the Meals-on-Wheels program.

In Alton alone, more than 10,000 meals were delivered last year.

The senior centers and the Meal-on-Wheels program sponsored by Community Action Program Belknap-Merrimack Counties, Inc. delivered more than 249,000 meals and more than 65,000 community dining meals in 2011.

According to the Assistant Secretary for Aging Kath Greenlee, "millions of adults suffer from hunger, malnutrition and food insecurity. For many, the meal they receive from the OAA Nutrition Program is their only meal of the day. Hunger does not discriminate; it targets individuals of all racial and ethnic backgrounds and socio-economic levels.

Greenlee goes on to say: "In 2010, the United State Department of Agriculture found that about 4.6 million older adults experienced some form of food insecurity. In 2010, a survey by the Administration of Aging of program participants found that 12 percent of home delivered meals recipients and six percent of congregate meal participants had to choose between buying food and pay for their rent or utilities.

Braun values the program because it's a great way to check up on the seniors on a day-to-day basis and inform them of programs that are going at the senior center.

Feeney can get information for seniors who need may need fuel assistance while delivering the meals.

One of the recipients who has been receiving meals for about five years is Earl Weeks.

Weeks enjoys a visit from Feeney every day having a meal delivered.

"It definitely helps outs," Weeks said. "There is a variety of food and the food is good."

On a side note, the senior center is partnering with Planet Aid to collect clean donated clothing, outerwear and shoes/boots, bedding, curtains, belts, handbags and ties for the entire month of April to benefit the Meals-on-Wheels program.

Planet Aid will give five cents per pound of items collected during the month of April to the Meals-on-Wheels program.

Tim Croes can be reached at tcroes@salmonpress.com or 569-3126

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