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Citigroup volunteers help deliver meals to seniors

September 04, 2007

Washington County Commission on Aging staff and volunteers deliver 3,200 freshly prepared, nutritious meals each month to homebound seniors through the Meals on Wheels program.

Thanks to volunteers from Citigroup, seniors in Hagerstown's North End receive a daily, noon meal delivered to their door. Meals on Wheels allows the frail elderly to remain living independently for as long as possible by providing a ready-to-eat meal each weekday. Citigroup allows employees to volunteer an hour of their workday for this service.

Dawn Sweitzer of Citigroup coordinates the 48 employees who take turns delivering meals. Volunteers go out in pairs, with one person as driver and one as deliverer. During an average rotation, each pair delivers meals once a month, so Citigroup employees are volunteering approximately 240 hours a year.

"This is an extremely rewarding experience for all of us at Citi," Sweitzer said. "We truly enjoy delivering the meals and are glad that, as a team, we are able to support this program and give back to the community."

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Citigroup volunteers report that they feel a sense of satisfaction from their contributions and that they realize their own parents might one day need this service.

Sandy Gaylor, nutrition services program manager at the Commission on Aging, said, "When a driver delivers a meal, he or she also makes a regular, informal evaluation of a homebound senior's well-being. The daily contact helps combat feelings of isolation and provides much needed social interaction. Thanks to all of our more than 65 volunteers; we couldn't do it without you."

Citigroup volunteers cover one of the 11 routes served by Meals on Wheels, but more volunteers are needed. Washington County's population growth and the general aging demographic has resulted in a demand for expansion of senior nutrition services. Teams of volunteers can come from local businesses, civic groups and churches. Individuals and couples are also encouraged to call the Commission on Aging at 301-790-0275, ext. 206.

Any amount of time donated, if only an hour a week is valuable. Even if a person cannot volunteer on a regular basis, there is always a need for substitutes. Gaylor says an area of particular need is a third northern route along Long Meadow Road, Potomac Avenue, Eastern Boulevard, Northern Avenue and possibly Leitersburg Pike. This route will make a loop from the pick-up and drop-off site at the Commission on Aging office at 140 W. Franklin St.

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