March 2022 marks 50 years since Meals on Wheels, the nation’s premier nutrition program for seniors, was funded. And for Vermont’s aging population, it has become a lifeline for many — a lifeline that begins with a bustle of activity around the state.
About 12:30 p.m. more than a dozen volunteers filed into the Bugbee Senior Center in White River Junction, stamping snow off their boots and shedding off hats and layers of jackets. The joking and good-natured ribbing among them capped a morning of providing a life-affirming function for the area’s seniors: the daily delivery of Meals on Wheels.
“Last month we delivered 1,632 meals to people who could not get out of their house or prepare them on their own – and served an additional 368 meals at the Center’s congregate meal events,” said Susan Manley, who coordinates the meal drivers. “Our volunteers are the best – we have 30 drivers.”
“We also have three kitchen staff who keep this going every day,” she added.
The area served by the intrepid volunteers and staff out of the Bugbee Center includes Wilder, Quechee, Norwich, Hartford, Thetford, and White River Junction.
As one volunteer driver put it: “We have a really great team here, and what we’re doing is important to so many people.”
“It’s based on nutritional needs, but there is also the social aspect of having a friendly face come to the door,” said Wendi Germain, the Nutrition & Wellness Director of Senior Solutions, which provides substantial support to eleven different meal sites serving residents in four counties. “For many, these drivers may be the only face they see all week. We so appreciate these volunteers. I can not overemphasize how critical it is to have public support for these programs, through both volunteerism and donations.”
For more information or to make a donation, visit: seniorsolutionsvt.org.