Improving low-income seniors nutrition, Meals on Wheels delivers more than food

Judy Zlatnik
Meals on Wheels Volunteer, Age 75

(Driving) It means a lot to me to be able to deliver meals to people and help people – some of whom are my age or younger – and it keeps the difficulties of getting older in good perspective.

(Preparing to deliver food) You’re supposed to deliver the meals within two hours. Everybody’s supposed to have their meal within two hours.

(Delivering food)

   Judy Zlatnik
That’s right?

   Client
Sounds good yeah. Looks good yeah.

   Judy Zlatnik
Ok! Alright. Good to see you.

Client
Ok, same here.

Judy Zlatnik

(Interview) Many of the people that need Meals on Wheels are unable to drive. Some of them are unable to get out of a chair. A few are bedridden. But for some reason they aren’t able to get out of the house, they aren’t able to go shopping. And if they’re offered transportation they’re still not able to provide the meals.

(Delivering food)

Judy Zlatnik
How are you today?

Client
Hi. So-so.

Judy Zlatnik

(Interview) The biggest problem is good nutrition, that if they’re eating on their own and not cooking they tend to eat junk food. And the thing about Meals on Wheels our meals are prepared at a hospital. The dietician at the hospital decides the menu. And we let them know how many people we have that need different special meals. With Meals on Wheels they get at least one, good, hot meal a day.

(Food delivery)

Meals on Wheels volunteer
Hey, how are you today?

Lou Ann Wilde
I’m fine thank you.

Meals on Wheels volunteer
This is your meal today…

Lou Ann Wilde
Meals on Wheels Client

(Interview) I’ve been receiving Meals on Wheels approximately maybe three to four years. Well I can cook my own meals but I have no way to go to the grocery store at all times you know. And I’m out of food – you know- I don’t have a lot of the stuff I need a lot of the time. I mainly could just cook like soups and canned goods and stuff like that – nothing serious.

I like the food it’s very tasty- so far. You know there’s some things – I don’t like curry, but you know you can’t like everything. But the food is good and edible and it’s served hot when I receive it.

Very happy to get the Meals on Wheels. And everybody that delivers is so pleasant. They always have time to talk you know a little bit and see how you’re doing. Yes very happy.

Judy Zlatnik

(Driving) If we go to the person’s residence and they’re not there we wanna be sure they’re ok.

(To client) Good morning how are you today?

(Driving) Sometimes they just forgot and they’ll say ‘oh I had a doctor’s appointment.’ In my 15 years of driving only one person didn’t answer – they didn’t come to the door – and it turned out that they had fallen and they were in the back of the house. You just have to check to be sure why they’re not answering the door.

(Delivering food)

Judy Zlatnik
Good morning, how are you today?

Client
Fine thank you how are you?

Judy Zlatnik
They got lots of vitamin A today – everything’s orange. Oh I brought you juice instead of milk!

Client
I’d rather milk. That’s ok it doesn’t matter.

Judy Zlatnik
No, I’ll come right back!

Client
That’s ok.

Judy Zlatnik
No! I gotta give you your milk! I will be quick.

Judy Zlatnik

(Interview) I love the personal connection. It’s an easy service because you’re just meeting people, greeting people.

(Delivering milk)

Client
Thank you so much.

Judy Zlatnik
15 years and I still don’t have it right.

Client
Really? Oh well! You’ve got a few more years to go.

Judy Zlatnik
Yeah – bye-bye!

Client
Bye. Thank you!

Judy Zlatnik

(Interview) It’s so wonderful to be able to make a difference in people’s lives. And people appreciate what we do. We can see that we are making their life better. And it’s just a privilege to be able to do that.

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