'A healthy meal and a friendly face'

Meals on Wheels happy to add to the ranks of seniors receiving food delivery

David Gilbert
dgilbert@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 12/13/20

Seniors in need of a helping hand shouldn't hesitate to reach out to Nourish Meals on Wheels, the nonprofit's director said. Nourish Meals on Wheels, headquartered in south Littleton, delivers hot, …

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'A healthy meal and a friendly face'

Meals on Wheels happy to add to the ranks of seniors receiving food delivery

Posted

Seniors in need of a helping hand shouldn't hesitate to reach out to Nourish Meals on Wheels, the nonprofit's director said.

Nourish Meals on Wheels, headquartered in south Littleton, delivers hot, healthy meals to homebound seniors and people with disabilities five days a week, and occasionally delivers other items like bags of groceries.

“We are here with the capacity to do more,” said Diane McClymonds, the group's executive director. “A lot of people think there are others worse off than them, so they're saving the program for those with more need, but we have the capacity to serve them too. If you have a neighbor, friend, or relative you think could benefit from our services, we would love to hear from them.”

Nourish provides meals regardless of clients' ability to pay, with many paying nothing toward their meals, though Nourish invites those with means to pay up to the full cost of each meal, which is $5.

Though the group saw a bump in clientele early in the pandemic, McClymonds said their numbers have settled back about where they were before COVID-19, with about 500 people a day receiving meals across the south metro suburbs.

CARES Act funding allowed Nourish to add a once-a-week delivery of non-perishable groceries, but that funding is ending at the end of the year. McClymonds said she hopes to secure additional funding for grocery delivery through recently-announced state grants for food bank programs.

The group's meals have also climbed in quality thanks to a partnership with the Food Exchange Resource Network, a nonprofit providing Nourish with fresh produce and meat.

“It means a lot more cooking from scratch,” McClymonds said. “Our menu is pretty amazing these days.”

The pandemic means Nourish has had to scale back one of its volunteers' favorite aspects of visiting clients: spending time chatting.

“For those clients who are still making an effort, it's still working,” McClymonds said. “But I won't lie, it's not the same. Our drivers have to stand way back, in the driveway perhaps, while clients talk to them through a screen door or from the porch. But even if not, our drivers are still someone coming to check on you every day. If we come back the next day and your meal is still there, we'll figure out why and get you the help you need.”

While McClymonds said Nourish has its COVID protocols pretty well worked out by now, the group is stockpiling extra meals in its new king-size freezer in case an outbreak plays havoc with its food production. But she said missing meal days is not an option.

“We've got 500 people depending on us for their daily nutrition,” she said. “Shutting the doors for a couple weeks? We just can't do it.”

Nourish is in the middle of its annual 12 Days of Giving program, which provides a dozen gifts to clients, one per service day leading up to Christmas. Gifts include greeting cards, home decorations and poinsettias.

For Lanny and Carla Arensen, a husband-and-wife volunteer driver team, delivering meals is about helping vulnerable seniors stay in the comfort of their own homes.

“It's serving the common good,” said Carla, as the couple waited outside Nourish's headquarters to receive their meals before heading out on their route. “It's not about us. It's about helping seniors. A healthy meal and a friendly face can mean a lot.”

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