GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

March 29, 2013

Senior Lookout: 'Mayor' for Meals' spotlights nutrition needs

Senior Lookout
Anne Springer

---- — Each year, SeniorCare, as well as other senior nutrition programs across the United States promote “March for Meals” in their communities through public events, partnerships with local businesses, volunteer recruitment efforts and fundraising initiatives. The month-long effort raises awareness of senior hunger and nutrition.

During the month, a day is planned when local elected officials are invited to accompany one of SeniorCare’s Meals on Wheels drivers on a delivery route to homebound elders who receive the meals.

Called “Mayors for Meals,” it’s often an eye-opening experience, a reminder that our lives are not without travail sometimes, and that we may have to rely on help from others at various points in our lives. Some mayors have gotten quite emotional seeing a long time constituent who has become frail enough to need some assistance. It’s also often such a gift for someone, previously an active member of the community, to be remembered by their mayor, who takes the time to pay them a special visit.

Last year, across America, more than 1500 elected officials participated in Mayors for Meals. SeniorCare proudly points out that at least one official representing each of the towns where SeniorCare delivers meals participated in the effort last year.

Some years, because of official duties, officials have had to decline on the day that the visits are scheduled, but the nice thing about our area is that they always seem to be so interested in doing it that they reschedule and come out on other days if necessary.

Linnea Hagberg, SeniorCare’s Nutrition Program Director, said, “We very much appreciate it when a state or local official takes time from their schedules, to deliver meals during this campaign. For those who receive meals, it is very meaningful to find their mayor, state senator, state representative, or selectman bringing them their meal. For those who deliver the meals it is an opportunity to interact with a constituency they might not otherwise get a chance to visit with, and to experience firsthand what the Meals on Wheels program is all about.”

Mayor Carolyn Kirk made deliveries in Gloucester, assisted by SeniorCare Nutrition Supervisor Paula Curley, and Rockport Selectwoman Frances Fleming did the honors, riding along with Meals on Wheels Volunteer, Judith Bogage.

The Meals on Wheels program might be able to help you or a friend or loved one if they are:

Unable to prepare a balanced meal because of physical, mental, or emotional limitations.

Do not have sufficient assistance from family, friends, or neighbors, to prepare a balanced meal.

Are unable to comfortably or safely participate in the Congregate Dining Program.

There are no income eligibility requirements. A $2.00 per meal donation is requested.

Those who are not homebound may enjoy dining with others at one of SeniorCare’s local community sites. For more information on Meals on Wheels, please call 978-281-1750.

Anne Springer is the public relations director of SeniorCare Inc., Cape Ann’s local area agency on aging. To reach SeniorCare, call 978-281-1750.