Washington County looking to "shorten" Meals On Wheels waiting list

Published: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 03:35 PM.

CHIPLEY - The Washington County Council on Aging has a waiting list for senior citizens in need of their Meals On Wheels service, a list Director Mary Smith hopes she will be able to shorten, despite experiencing a nearly $10,000 cut in funding from the federal government this year.

Clients are serviced by Meals On Wheels for a variety of reasons, including that they can no longer safely drive to the grocery store or stand long enough to cook their own meal. Some are just being released from the hospital or nursing home and need meals on a temporary basis. In addition to the Meals on Wheels waiting list, they are currently considering closing meal service days at two of our community dining meal sites.

“Our program provides seniors with nutritious meals, social support and a chance to have fun," said Smith. "We run an efficient and effective program, but we can’t tighten our belts any further."

Each year, WCCOA serves about 10,200 meals annually to around 80 of Washington County's senior citizens.

But Smith points out the program delivers more than food.

“Our Meals On Wheels delivery volunteers spend time with the clients and develop friendships with the people they serve," she explained. "For some rural clients, their volunteer driver may be the only person they have interaction with all day. Our drivers are a vital resource for helping keep a welfare check on our seniors."

Smith stated meals are funded through the USDA C2 meal program, which is part of the Older Americans Act.

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