Mayors for Meals raises awareness in Truckee
“I’ve been doing this since 1996, longer than dirt,” said 81-year-old Fred Vantrease, a Meals on Wheels volunteer driver.
Vantrease usually drives solo, delivering hot, nutritious meals to the hidden members of our community, mostly homebound seniors. On March 18, he had co-pilot Town of Truckee Mayor Dr. Mark Brown as part of a national awareness campaign ” Mayors for Meals. Initiated and sponsored by Meals On Wheels Association of America (MOWAA), it is a push to raise awareness of senior hunger. Last year, Mayors for Meals set a new record, with 1,084 mayors participating across the United States.
This year, requests for services is up and funding from the Area 4 on Aging is being stretched. The meals, 1/3 the daily requirement for seniors, are delivered to 40 to 60 homes Monday through Friday.
Meals on Wheels operates its own cars, maintained by the Auto Doctor and Stones Tires of Truckee. Volunteer drivers travel from Truckee to Donner Summit to Kings Beach to Dollar Hill. They often act as gatekeepers, keeping an eye on recipient’s well being. Sometimes, they are the only contact the homebound have. “It was great to see how Fred was treated,” said Mayor Brown. “He was greeted like family, he is a great connection to the outside world.”
“We need to take care of and be aware of this very frail, vulnerable population,” said Director of Sierra Senior Services Sarah Deardorff. Recipients are referred by doctors, social workers or out-of-area family members who are concerned. “Some are very proud, and they need to know it’s O.K. for them to participate, it will make life easier,” Deardorff advised.
Donations to grease the gears for Meals on Wheels are “greatly appreciated” and tax deductible, said Deardorff.
“The loving kindness people have toward the program is heartwarming,” said Mayor Brown after the Mayors for Meals day. “There are so many opportunities to help in our community, if you look you will find something to fit your personality.”
Make a difference in the life of a senior
Pledges may be made $300 annually, $25 a month
Call Sierra Senior Services at 550-7600
– Seventy percent of the meal participants in Nevada County are below poverty line
– The request for home delivered meals in Truckee/Tahoe rose by 32 percent last year
– AARP estimates that 30 percent of seniors have to choose between food to taking their medicine