The hot weather doesn’t stop these cooks from heating up the kitchen. Employees at the Muskingum County Center for Seniors prepare about 300 meals each day for homebound individuals.
"The menu today is pork chops, scalloped potatoes, beets and then we have a fruit and milk," said Don.
Don Talbot has been involved with the Home Delivered Meal Program for five years. He said this service is a necessity – not a convenience.
"There are numerous people who do need this, who don’t see anybody but us during the day, and they need the hot meals," said Don.
Once the trays are sealed and packed into coolers, it’s time to load the van and deliver the food. Don drives the "river route" – a 65 mile stretch along the Muskingum River.
"You don’t spend a whole lot of time with them. It’s just in and out, how are you doing, make sure they’re okay," said Don. "You can’t stay too long, because all your clients at the end of the route are looking for their meals to come."
This service isn’t all about the food – it’s about making people smile. These seniors don’t get to interact with many people, so a visit from Don is something they look forward to.
"It helps me a lot, because some days I don’t mobilize too good, and I don’t do a lot of cooking, and it’s a nourished meal," said Delores. "It’s nice that people care enough to at least come in."
It’s inspiration from people like Delores that keeps the program afloat in this sinking economy.
"We rely on federal funding and state funding," said Don. "Hopefully that won’t be part of the budget cuts."
Without a way to receive daily meals, these seniors could become part of a frightening statistic – six million seniors across the nation are facing the threat of hunger.
"I’d probably have to go to a nursing home," said Donna.
"Where would I be? McDonald’s," said Delores.
"If I have to cook, I’m done. I’d starve to death," said Clarence.
If you want to take action and end senior hunger, you can make a difference. The Center for Seniors is always looking for new volunteers – just stop by and fill out an application.