Guest column: Meals on Wheels worthy of your support

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 25, 2016

By Rose Meeks Jones

Special to the Post

Nancy Wood recently celebrated her 90th birthday leading a very full and active life for most of her years. She would get in her car and go when and where she needed until failing eyesight forced her to give up her driver’s license a few years back. Then in September, Nancy took a fall resulting in a hip fracture and spent time in a rehab facility before returning to her home.

Her two daughters and son all live nearby and stayed with their mom initially, sharing in the responsibilities of her care, and after Nancy began staying by herself they continued to stop daily to take care of her needs. Even so, their mother wasn’t thriving. She couldn’t cook very much because of her poor eyesight and her daughter, Linda Overcash, admits that food became an issue. Neither she nor her siblings claim to be cooks, but they did the best they could under the circumstances, even managing to get their mom out for an occasional trip to Wendy’s or treating her to her favorite sausage biscuit. However, getting their mother out was difficult, and outside of her children’s visits she didn’t get much socialization. Even getting ready for church wore her out, and those visits became fewer.

While Linda’s sister was visiting an elderly friend who had also had hip surgery, a Meals on Wheels volunteer arrived with a meal for her friend, who told her how good the food was and how much she enjoyed her daily visit with the volunteers. Linda and her sister talked it over and made the call to Meals on Wheels. That has made all the difference for their mother!

Linda says, “Her Meals on Wheels visit has become Mom’s favorite topic of conversation when we talk to her. She enjoys the food and tells us all about that day’s menu, and she enjoys the people as much as the food. She makes a list of all the volunteers’ names; they have become her friends. Her life now revolves around Meals on Wheels, and she won’t let us schedule doctor’s appointments or even let me fix her hair if it will interfere with her daily visit. She makes sure to be up and dressed and takes more care with her appearance than she did before.”

“More importantly,” Linda shares, “Mom is happier and healthier than before. She takes joy in the food and has gained back much of the weight she lost while she was in the hospital. I don’t know what we would have done without Meals on Wheels.”

When Linda was a nurse, she faithfully contributed to her hospital’s yearly United Way campaign, knowing that their agencies lend valuable assistance to many in the community with a variety of special needs; she never dreamed that her family would be in need of one of their member agencies’ services.

Meals on Wheels of Rowan, a Rowan County United Way member agency since 1976, provides a meal and friendly visit to over 200 of our county’s senior adults five days each week; that’s over 50,000 meals each year. But their volunteers offer so much more than just a meal. They may spend time visiting with the meal recipient, bring in their mail or newspaper, send birthday cards or bring gifts for special occasions. Food may be the main course, but caring and compassion are the dessert.

Linda Overcash has become a Meal on Wheels volunteer herself since her mother began receiving her meals. “I became aware of the need out there, and it feels so good to be helping others in this small way. I love it!” she said.

Your contributions throughout the year to the Rowan County United Way support many local agencies like Meals on Wheels. A portion of your contributions help Meals on Wheels to continue their mission of providing that meal, friendly visit and safety check to the homebound of Rowan County, so they can assure that no senior goes hungry.