Meals On Wheels keeps on serving

January 03, 1994|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,Staff Writer

Braving the cold weather, Roberta McCurdy, 70, and Madeleine Yeakley, 67, delivered 13 meals to senior citizens and other shut-ins Thursday in the Brooklyn Park area as part of their volunteer work for the Meals On Wheels program.

Meals On Wheels is a private, nonprofit food preparation and delivery service. It has sponsored the delivery of meals five days a week for more than 30 years to seniors who can't cook or shop.

The volunteers pick up the meals at the Pascal Senior Center in Glen Burnie at 11 a.m. The hot and cold meals are packed at the center by other volunteers. Cold meals can consist of cereal, tuna fish, cheese and luncheon meats. Hot meals usually consist of vegetables, fruit, fish and meats.

"It's mostly the elderly and the shut-ins we deliver to," said Evelyn Schwallenberg, coordinator for the program's Route 4, which includes Ferndale, Linthicum and Brooklyn Park.

There are about 14 volunteers who work on Route 4, each delivering meals to about 15 homes daily Monday through Friday, said Mrs. Schwallenberg.

"In some cases, we're the only people they see during the day. We spend about five minutes with them," Mrs. Schwallenberg said.

"We talk with them a little, but we can't stay too long because we have other meals to deliver so the hot ones don't get cold," she said.

"That's the hardest part," said Ms. McCurdy, who takes in the food while her partner, Ms. Yeakley, keeps the car warm, "to go in and not be able to talk to them."

The two women have been Meals On Wheels volunteers for about five years -- ever since their church, Brooklyn Heights United Methodist, made them aware of the need.

Mrs. Schwallenberg, 66, who is also a member of the church, said she would like to recruit more volunteers to serve as substitutes when someone needs a day off.

New volunteers spend a few days on the routes learning the ropes from seasoned volunteers, said Mrs. Schwallenberg.

Those who receive meals from the program pay according to their ability, she said.

Sometimes her daughter, Wendy, 27, who has Down syndrome, accompanies her on delivery runs, Mrs. Schwallenberg said. "She gets a kick out of it.

"I just love going out to help them [the recipients] out," said Mrs. Schwallenberg. "These people don't have anybody and probably wouldn't have any food if we didn't do it. That's my reward."

For information or to volunteer, call 789-3688.

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