Philip Famolare receives his meal from driver Bob Edwards

More Than a Meal: March for Meals 2017

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This March, North Shore Elder Services’ Meals on Wheels program celebrates our collaboration of local community organizations, businesses, government and individuals to ensure our elders are not forgotten.

The Meals on Wheels program can be the difference between remaining in one’s own home and needing to relocate. North Shore Elder Services (NSES) wants to give seniors greater quality of life and providing nutritious meals is one way we can.

This is more than a meal. There are many standards and state regulations that have to be followed to meet the nutritional guidelines for each meal.  There can be many reasons why seniors do not have the most nutrient dense meals.  Home delivered meals offer a guarantee of one nutritiously balanced meal a day.

There is also the important connection between the person delivering the meal and the recipient. For some seniors who can be isolated, this may be the only person they see or speak with in a day.  It also serves as a wellness or safety check.  The deliverer can be the first to notice an emergency or problems.

The Famolares of Peabody are one of our families receiving home delivered meals. Philip and Antonetta have been happily satisfied consumers involved in the program for over seven years.  Antonetta became sick and cooking was too physically hard for her.  She could not stand for long periods of time so cooking ended.  “You know who really helped us a lot?” queried Philip.  “Melissa Daly (Care Manager at NSES) got us straightened out and started on services.  She was a big help.”

With mobility issues for both Philip and Antonetta, home delivered meals was a life saver. “We have a homemaker who does grocery shopping once a week for us.  She’s wonderful.  She buys us food that we can use for our breakfasts and lunches – easy meals that we ourselves can prepare.  We save the home delivered meal for our dinner in the evening.”

Philip and Antonetta emphasize the convenience the program brings to them. “We don’t have to worry about going out to shop for food, bring it home, put it away, and then prepare a meal.  We have been happy with the meals too.  Once in a while you might get something you don’t like as well but generally the food is good.”  When asked what the best part is about Meals on Wheels, Antonetta is quick to say, “The stuffed shells!”  They also both agree that they enjoy their meals driver Bob Edwards five day a week visit.

The Famolares were particularly grateful for the work done behind the scenes when they called NSES’ Anne Gold in the Nutrition department the day before Thanksgiving. “We had no food in the house and I called asking Anne about getting food for Thanksgiving.  We couldn’t get out for anything.”

Anne was successful in arranging for volunteers to deliver two turkey dinners on Thanksgiving Day. “That was beautiful,” remembers Philip.  “We get treated so well by NSES.  We had enough food that we had left-overs the whole week.”

In his typical appreciative way, Philip called Anne the next week thanking her and the volunteers.

North Shore Elder Services delivers approximately 525 meals per day and serves sixty congregate meals per day at four congregate sites. It takes many hands to keep the process running smoothly.  This March, we will be involving some of our local legislators in our communities to participate alongside our drivers in delivering meals to our elders.  Stay tuned for the week of March 20th to see the mission carried out as Representative Thomas Walsh of Peabody, Mayor Ted Bettencourt of Peabody, and Mayor Kim Driscoll of Salem pitch in to deliver meals.

If you or someone you know could benefit from receiving home delivered meals, call North Shore Elder Services’ Nutrition department at 978-750-4540 to inquire how we might be able to help.

Author Info

Jayne Girodat

Jayne Girodat is the Communications Specialist at North Shore Elder Services. Along with ten years in the position of Caregiver Support Specialist at another ASAP, Jayne was a long-distance caregiver to parents for the same amount of time. That experience serves as motivation to better understand the issues of aging and to engage people in conversations about those issues. Jayne's background in teaching contributes to her appreciation of social media as a tool to educate readers on aging concerns. "I love asking people questions. Everyone likes to be heard. When you ask and then listen, you'll find everyone has a story and some of those stories are gems. I think it is particularly important to hear the voices of our older adults. Those are the stories I really connect to and hope to bring to North Shore Elder Services' audience."

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