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.


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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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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