Delivering Christmas: Meals on Wheels

Every day, the Norwich Senior Center operating from the halls of First Baptist Church serves meals to about 80 area seniors, with volunteers delivering the food to their homes through the Meals on Wheels program.

Iíve volunteered for Meals on Wheels before, so when I arrived at the Norwich Senior Center last Thursday, I expected to be delivering cold meals held in large coolers and warm ones in giant red thermal bags. The center, though, is much more than a beginning route for the goodwill deliveries. Every day, it hosts a free lunch for area seniors beginning at 11:45 a.m.

Just like the delivered meals, the Chenango County Public Safety Facilityís kitchen prepares about 200 to 250 meals a day for the Chenango County Area Agency on Aging, whose volunteers and staff deliver them to anyone 60 years or older and in need.

The center offers an open buffet of the meals to anyone who wants to visit the church for lunch. So while volunteers start marking their delivery rounds at about 10:30, others are preparing the buffet for visitors. On this particular day, more than a dozen local citizens arrived at the center for the daily luncheon.

When the program began in 1974, 75 percent of the meals were consumed at senior or community centers; today 75 percent are now delivered to residences, with about 200 meals being delivered county-wide.

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