Meals on Wheels deliveries are resumed Blizzard, blocked roads had stymied volunteers

agency head pitches in

January 12, 1996|By Suzanne Loudermilk | Suzanne Loudermilk,SUN STAFF

Meals on Wheels, a lifeline for hundreds of Baltimore-area shut-ins, was rolling again yesterday, after being sidetracked because of the blizzard. And for many people, the delivery provided the first full hot meal they had eaten in almost a week.

"God bless you. I've been living on canned soup," said Highlandtown's Donald Park, 51, who is homebound with a debilitating back injury.

Mr. Park thanked Bob Schap, executive director of Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland, who was delivering meals to clients in Baltimore.

This isn't Mr. Schap's usual role with the nonprofit food program. But he and other staff members were determined to get meals to the needy after the agency was virtually shut down all week because of the weather.

The threat of more snow added to the urgency of delivering the standard hot and cold meals -- plus additional emergency supplies, including cans of soup and tuna fish.

Under normal conditions, about 3,000 volunteers serve 1,550 shut-ins in the city and surrounding counties Monday through Friday.

Yesterday, most distribution sites in the city and Baltimore County still were not running at full speed because volunteers, many of whom are elderly, weren't able to make deliveries.

The outer counties were faring better, Mr. Schap said.

"In Howard, Harford and Carroll, the distribution sites are open and we are attempting to serve the [clients]," he said.

For Mr. Schap, the deliveries weren't easy.

He carefully maneuvered in East Baltimore through snow-covered streets that had erratically parked cars. At one stop, he had to double-park on a cleared road and trudge down an unplowed block to reach the Formstone row home of 85-year-old Helen Kaiser.

The frail woman, who is legally blind and uses a walker, gratefully shook his hand. She was happy to have someone to talk to.

"I can't get out of the house," she said, "I've been falling too much."

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