Volunteers fuel Meals on Wheels

There is no stopping Meals on Wheels.

Kim Estey’s and Chuck Blair’s loving cook’s hands dished up and vacuum-sealed trays of meatloaf, potatoes and vegetables, and handed over an insulated pouch to drivers on Dec. 19, as six inches of snow, and counting, fell on the ground.

“No problem, we’ve been driving in this for years,” volunteer Lee Curtis said.

“It needs to be done,” said Norma Curtis. The couple started deliveries six years ago.

“We want to get it there on time. People are looking for it, and they don’t want to be waiting all day for it. I like to get it going and get it to them at noon, if we can.”

Lee was asked, “Is that your way of saying leave us alone so we can get going?”

“Yes it is,” he said, and the Curtises drove off with a laugh.

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Meals on Wheels serves a total of 41 people each weekday in the Hood River, Odell and Parkdale areas. The service is provided by Hood River Valley Adult Center, which also serves meals at the dining room in the facility at 2010 Sterling Place, on the Heights just off Brookside Drive.

Other than Estey, Meals on Wheels is staffed by volunteers, and more people are needed to drive meals or help with meal preparation. Drivers donate their own time, vehicle and fuel.

The service is more than nutrition and meal delivery: For some clients, the daily delivery is a vital social link. Many seniors have no family member nearby, and in some cases the Meals on Wheels driver is the only personal contact they have some days.

Currently the volunteers range in age from 14 to 81. Call Executive Director Collice Sinclair at 541-386-2060 for details.

Meals on Wheels is also in need of funds. Two years ago Hood River Lions Foundation provided funds to feed eight seniors for a full year. Those funds have since been depleted, yet Meals on Wheels continues to feed those eight seniors in addition to another nine, according to Sinclair. In some cases, clients are able to contribute financially to the cost of their meals.

To sustain the program, the Adult Center has started the Sponsor a Senior program: A donation of $80 feeds a senior for a month; $240 takes care of three months’ worth of meals, and $480 pays for six months.

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