A Meal and a Smile
|Mary Protopappas takes a break from her garden to greet Meals on Wheels driver Carla Gallegos with a hot meal of meatballs and steaming veggies.|
The Mobile Meals program provides over 100 nutritional meals to Carbon County seniors, all 60 years or older. According to Bonnie Bell, mobile meals director, the mobile meals is a valuable program serving a large group of people who would not otherwise have a nutritional meal. Bell explained that sometimes it becomes a balancing act for seniors to finance between meals, their medications and homes and often meals get the lower priority. "They cannot maintain a standard of health without a good balanced diet," she says.
Bell explained that for many of the seniors this is the only meal of the day and in addition to the nutritional value the contact with a driver is beneficial. "It's a friendly visit and it gives them contact with the outside world," she explained. "And you can't believe the stories we hear` while out there delivering."
Carbon is one of the few counties in Utah that does not have a waiting list to receive the meals. In other words everyone that has applied for the program is getting a meal.
Jeanne Martin, executive director of the senior center also explained that the center is working closely with the hospital on prereleases. "When elderly people leave the hospital a meal can be delivered to their homes," she explained, adding that it's important for families to understand this service is available.
The purpose of the mobile meals program is to meet one third of the daily nutritional requirements for people over 60 years old. Bell said their favorite meals included roast beef, pork roast and spaghetti.
With two drivers in the Price, Helper and Wellington areas and delivery to over 100 locations, not everyone receives their meal at lunch time. Bell explained that the state guidelines require that the meals need to be delivered before 2:30 p.m. Bell suggests "that if the meal is delivered after the time that lunch would normally be eaten, then go ahead and eat the food that would normally be ate and place the mobile meal in the refrigerator to be used for an evening meal."
|Maria Garcia busy preparing the meatballs.|
Meals are delivered five days a week and then on weekends and holidays frozen meals are provided.
The staff at the Senior Center selects the menu, but it is approved by a dietitian. The meals that are provided for the mobile program are the same meals that are served at the center.
Although the local program receives some state and federal funding, Carbon County is extremely generous and contributes about 60 percent of the funding, says Bell.
East Carbon residents have one driver delivering 30 meals therefore delivery time in this community is made by noon.
The Center also sells the Ensure supplement which is a nutritional meal replacement drink. With a doctor's prescription the center sells a case for about $13 which is about half the cost it would be at a grocery outlet.
Anyone who is 60 years old and nutritionally needy or home bound should contact 637-5080 for more information.