Small time commitment leaves everyone full

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Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick LifeCare Alliance employee Bill Hixson (left) hands off a cooler filled with food to Bill Anderson, a Meals-on-Wheels volunteer route driver and Plain City resident.
Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick
LifeCare Alliance employee Bill Hixson (left) hands off a cooler filled with food to Bill Anderson, a Meals-on-Wheels volunteer route driver and Plain City resident.

(Posted March 27, 2015)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Just before 11 a.m., Bill Anderson pulls into the parking lot at Plain City United Methodist Church. A few minutes later, a representative of LifeCare Alliance parks alongside him in a Meals-on-Wheels van.

The two men exchange pleasantries, then transfer packaged meals—some hot, some cold, some frozen—from the van to Anderson’s truck. They wish each other a good day, then go their separate ways. For Anderson, that means heading out on his route to deliver meals to older adults and people with chronic illness in the Plain City and Plumwood area.

Anderson, a Plain City resident and loyal Meals-on-Wheels volunteer, has been making this rendezvous two or three times a week since February 2009. When needed, he picks up additional routes elsewhere in Madison County as a fill-in for other volunteers. Most routes take less than an hour to complete, and in that hour, so much good is done.

“There are different reasons why people get meals,” Anderson said.

Some clients are under financial constraints; others are unable to prepare meals for themselves. Meals-on-Wheels provides them with balanced hot or cold noon meals each weekday and, in some cases, a cold meal for supper and/or frozen meals they can heat up themselves over the weekend. Deliveries also serve as a check on clients’ general well-being.

“Sometimes, we’re the only person they see all day until their caregiver comes home at night,” Anderson said.

The meal recipients aren’t the only ones who benefit from Meals-on-Wheels. The program does a lot of good for the volunteers, too.

For Anderson, retired from Honda since 2008, the volunteer work gives him a sense of purpose.

“When you’re retired, you think you’re not needed anymore. LifeCare Alliance fills that need to be needed,” he said. “I think of the people I deliver meals to as my clients. That gives me ownership of taking care of them.”

Anderson also has an even more personal reason for volunteering for Meals-on-Wheels. His mother, in her later years, needed care. Distance prevented Anderson from helping with her day-to-day needs. Family members who lived near her in Illinois provided care.

“Helping with the elderly here was my way of taking care of my mom,” Anderson said, adding that she believed in and was proud of his work with Meals-on-Wheels.

Anderson encourages anyone with an hour of free time to consider volunteering for the program.

“It’s an easy thing to do. You bring a lot of help to people who really need and want it,” he said.

Volunteering for Meals-on-Wheels

LifeCare Alliance is in need of volunteers to deliver meals to the elderly in Madison County.

Routes are available throughout the county, with convenient pick-up locations in London, Plain City, West Jefferson and Mount Sterling. Most routes take about an hour to complete. All start at about 11 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Some volunteers take one route a month, some go out weekly, some deliver meals multiple times a week. The amount of time committed is up to the volunteer.

New volunteers must fill out an application, have a background check, and complete a one-hour training.

For more information, call Madison County coordinator Leah Baird at (740) 845-7325 or the LifeCare Alliance hotline at (614) 444-MEAL.

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