(Posted Sept. 24, 2019)
By Theresa Hennis, Staff Writer
LifeCare Alliance, the Midwest’s leading provider of Meals-on-Wheels, is in need of volunteers to deliver meals.
Drivers are needed during the lunch hour to deliver meals to older adults and homebound individuals who are medically challenged and living with a disability in Madison County.
LifeCare Alliance operates hot-meal routes five days a week. The Adopt-a-Route program provides a unique outreach experience, and volunteers may adopt a route one day a week, one day a month or any amount in between. Any level of participation saves LifeCare Alliance the cost of a paid driver. All training for volunteers is covered, with no expense to them.
Randy Hazelton is a Meals-on-Wheels volunteer who has served in the London area for one-and-a-half years. He volunteered for three years in Urbana, working alongside his dad, Chuck, also a Meals-on-Wheels volunteer. His dad, who is experiencing his own health issues, still wants to deliver meals when he is able. His dedication is shared by other volunteers who find that delivering meals gives them satisfaction in knowing they’ve made a difference.
Clients who receive meals are relieved of the stress of worrying about whether they will be able to stay in their own homes, living an independent lifestyle.
Hazelton likes delivering meals because he enjoys meeting and getting to know the people on his route. He lends a listening ear to meal recipients who might not have someone to talk to every day.
“I like making sure the people on my route are okay,” he said. “The meals I deliver are sometimes the only thing they’ll eat all day.”
Making sure those he serves know someone cares is as important to him as the meals and friendship are to them. Often, the Meals-on-Wheels delivery person is the only contact clients encounter all day.
One of Hazelton’s meal recipients is retiree, Ron Callicoat of London, a former National Guardsman and hobby farmer. After Callicoat’s wife of 48 years passed away from ovarian cancer this last February, he came to appreciate the meals from Meals-on-Wheels.
“I miss my wife’s meals,” Callicoat said. “She was a good cook.”
One of his favorite items on the menu is the macaroni and cheese.
Retiree Frank Shepherd of London also looks forward to Hazelton’s delivery.
“The food is good,” Shepherd said. “My kids signed me up for this program. Some people don’t get meals, and they need them.”
A former Columbus Waste Management employee, Shepherd took the time during his own work lunch breaks to take food to people in need.
“I just did it on my own,” he said.
His good deeds have come back to him in kind, and he is grateful for volunteers like Hazelton.
London Meals-on-Wheels coordinator Leah Baird keeps everything running smoothly. The volunteers appreciate her hands-on involvement in making sure everyone is well served. She is always available to her volunteers if they have any questions or concerns. They let her know if a client is not feeling well or if there are changes in their needs. Baird is then able to contact family members and caregivers to keep them updated.
“We’re blessed to have Leah,” Hazelton said. “She does the screenings with clients, visits with them, and checks on them, too.”
If you know someone who needs Meals-on-Wheels, contact the customer service department at (614) 278-3130. To learn more about volunteer opportunities offered by LifeCare Alliance, call (614) 444-MEAL (6325) or visit www.lifecarealliance.org.