The program was started by the late Gladys Deadrick more than 27 years ago to help the house bound. Since her death in 1991, a board of 11 area residents have taken over where she left off. In 1991 the program was incorporated, making it a nonprofit organization.
The program was started to provide meals for the elderly who arenít able to get out much or for people returning home from the hospital and need a little extra help in the meals department.
The program is at its maximum right now which is 34 meals per day, according to Lorraine Adams, secretary of the organization. The Paynesville Area Hospital prepares 20 meals and the Paynesville Area Senior Center prepares 14 meals to be delivered to the shut-ins.
For the past eight years Ron Anselment and John Scheierl have been delivering meals for the program. Their route consists of residents in St. Martin, Hawick, Regal, Lake Henry, Roscoe and Paynesville.
Scheierl drove a total of eight years for the program and Anselment, 16. Dorothy Holifer will be retiring from the program in October and at present, Larry Hoiland is their main driver. ďWe need a few more volunteer drivers to help out,Ē Adams said. The drivers are paid mileage.
ďWe have really appreciated the men who drive as they go out in all sorts of weather conditions to get the meals delivered,Ē she added.
Adams said driving isnít a real fun job but they have had some dedicated drivers.
The meals are delivered hot and it is up to the individual when they eat them. Some eat them right away, others reheat them later in the microwave. Each meal consists of a hot meat entree, vegetable, salad, bread and butter plus dessert.
Adams said their meal count has been increasing steadily. In 1991, the program averaged 22 meals daily or 400 meals per month. In May of 1997, they delivered 603 meals compared to 390 in 1996. For the month of June 1997, 582 meals were delivered compared to 343 the year before.
ďThe drivers are sometimes the only outside contact these people have all day,Ē Adams said. Often times, the drivers have found people on the floor and in need of medical care when they deliver the meals. The drivers take pride in helping others and checking in with them daily, she added.
Board members who oversee the program are Lloyd Peterson, Adams, secretary; Mary Winther, vice-president; Lucille Seastedt, Connie Buschette, Betty Crusoe, Donna Mackedanz, Al Habben, Bill Spooner and Jeff and Joe Bertram.
Anyone interested in volunteering their time to drive and deliver meals should contact Lorraine Adams, 320-243-3625. Interested in getting you name on a meal waiting list, contact Alice Scheierl at the Paynesville Area Hospital, 320-243-3767.
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