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Volunteers sought to deliver Meals on Wheels in Washington Co.

August 22, 2011|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • A FedEx-delivered Meals on Wheels meal of roast beef with mashed potatoes and gravy and spicy corn is shown in this file photo. The Washington County Commission on Aging is seeking volunteers to deliver food to senior citizens who participate in the Meals on Wheels program. FedEx took over the delivery job from volunteers in January, but the new system that replaced volunteers didn't work out.
Herald-Mail file photo

The Washington County Commission on Aging is seeking volunteers to deliver food to senior citizens who participate in the Meals on Wheels program.

Susan MacDonald, executive director of the Washington County Commission on Aging, said about 15 volunteers will start making deliveries Tuesday.

FedEx took over the delivery job from volunteers in January, but MacDonald said the new system that replaced volunteers didn't work out.

"We're willing to admit when things aren't working and change course," MacDonald said. "It was worth a try. The advantage of the meals being delivered by FedEx was that the meals would get delivered regardless of the weather."

The food for Meals on Wheels initially was prepared by Washington County Public Schools cooks and delivered to homebound seniors by a mixture of volunteers and paid drivers, MacDonald said. In January, the commission contracted with FedEx to deliver the meals in an effort to save money.

MacDonald said the commission decided to return to the old system after enrollment in the Meals on Wheels program declined. It seemed, she said, that seniors weren't very fond of the boxed meals that FedEx delivered once a week.

"We found that people in this county preferred the fresh, hot meal that they were getting from the Board of Ed, which was more like a home-cooked meal," she said.

She said making the change will not make a big difference financially.

The boxes delivered by FedEx contained up to 21 meals that were packed with ice. Among other things, the boxes contained wrapped slices of bread, peanut butter packets, powdered milk and a variety of meals ranging from pancakes to roast beef and mashed potatoes.

MacDonald said drivers are needed Monday through Friday to serve slightly more than 100 seniors who participate in the program. Drivers can volunteer whenever they have time.

"We're putting out a call to the community," MacDonald said. "We need drivers all over the county."

Delivery drivers will need their own vehicles, MacDonald said. Meals on Wheels used to have about 10 vans, but they were sold when FedEx started to deliver the meals.

MacDonald said the meals will be prepared by Washington County Public Schools and taken to the Commission on Aging office at 140 W. Franklin St. in Hagerstown, where volunteers can pick them up.

She said volunteers are encouraged to visit with seniors while making the deliveries.

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To volunteer, contact the Washington County Commission on Aging Inc. at 301-790-0275, ext. 209 or 217, or email pkline@wccoaging.org or hcramer@wccoaging.org.

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