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Meals on Wheels on the road again

September 19, 2011|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • Michael Fotta carries a container of hot meals to his SUV, where he will plug it in to keep the food warm. Fotta and his wife deliver Meals on Wheels in Hagerstown.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — The Meals on Wheels Program in Washington County is making a steady comeback after an eight-month hiatus.

Susan MacDonald, executive director of the Washington County Commission on Aging Inc., said about 60 people have volunteered to deliver meals to homebound seniors after an announcement last month that the program was being reinstated.

“It’s going along well,” MacDonald said. “But we’re still recruiting.”

MacDonald said the Commission on Aging is trying to match volunteers with a route based on their availability. She said the commission is having difficulty finding volunteers to deliver meals to Hancock, Smithsburg and the north end of Hagerstown. It is especially difficult to find drivers on Wednesdays.

“It takes a little time,” she said. “We have some staff delivering, but we expected that at first.”

The Commission on Aging used volunteers to deliver meals to seniors until January, when the commission contracted with FedEx to do the job.

MacDonald said at the time that FedEx could deliver pre-packaged meals cheaper in bulk, rather than doing it the old way by paying Washington County Public Schools to prepare the food.

In addition, FedEx guaranteed that the meals would get delivered in inclement weather and during school holidays.

MacDonald said last month that the commission decided to return to the old system after seniors complained.

“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,” MacDonald said in August.

She said seniors also missed visits from the volunteers who delivered the food.

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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