Meals on Wheels is state and federally funded program that provides a daily visit and nutritious meals for people over age 60 in Massachusetts. The people who deliver these meals provide a human connection to the outside world. Read the Boston Globe article about a Meals on Wheels volunteer on his delivery rounds.
For those who receive — and deliver — Meals on Wheels, more than nutrition is on the menu
By Robert Weisman | Boston Globe
It’s a Tuesday ritual that Vito LaMura holds dear.
On that day, the 71-year-old retired teacher drives from his Bedford home to Lexington Community Center, where he picks up more than a dozen Meals on Wheels packages. LaMura carefully lays out the bagged containers in his Mazda hatchback. Then he’s off on an 8-mile route — delivering food to housebound seniors who get by on Social Security, daily routines, and memories.
The modest meals are crucial for those who receive them. So is the emotional nourishment. The state and federally funded Meals on Wheels program provides a daily visit for about 75,000 people over age 60 in Massachusetts. Many are hungry, isolated, and living in or near poverty. It’s a human connection to an outside world that can recede from view in later years. Many Meals on Wheels volunteers are retirees like LaMura. Some aren’t that much younger than the folks they visit. But most of them are focused on navigating their routes rather than peering into what could be their future. As he makes his rounds, it’s clear the program benefits LaMura as much as it does the recipients, whom he calls “my people.” Their conversations come easily.
LaMura points to a house where he used to bring meals.
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“The woman who lived there just died,” he says.
LaMura plans to go to the wake to meet her children. “I want to tell them how much I enjoyed their mother,” he says.
Lexington is a mostly affluent town, but LaMura knows its less fortunate neighborhoods and their invisible pockets of loneliness.
Pulling up in front of a low-slung ranch house, he removes two trays from his car: a hot lunch and a frozen supper. They’re for Sally Neale, a 75-year-old retiree who lives alone. Neale, a breast cancer survivor who has multiple sclerosis, rises gingerly from her stuffed chair with her walker when LaMura arrives. Her face brightens when she greets him. [read entire article]