By RHEA-FRANCES TETLEY
Mountain Meals on Wheels (MOW) hopes to be able to resume deliveries this week. They have been unable to serve their recipients, who are unable to buy, cook and provide meals for themselves because of medical, disability or other needs, due to the recent blizzard, which closed roadways and isolated residents in all the mountain communities.
Laura De La Parra spoke with The Alpine Mountaineer, sharing stories of the great lengths some of the dedicated volunteer MOW drivers went to during this disaster to get food to some of their recipients, while the blizzard raged. This included getting food from their own cupboards at their own homes and later from the emergency food distribution centers to take to the recipients. The kitchen at Mountains Community Hospital, the provider of the hot meals MOW delivers to the recipients, was closed.
During the storm, the MOW program coordinators, including De La Parra, called their recipients to check on their well-being. When they couldn’t reach four the first day, they were worried, but kept calling. As frustration took hold, they even requested wellness checks on them through the county emergency hotline. Finally, some volunteers from the Running Springs Fire Department came and dug out a few of the recipients in the Running Springs area.
Some drivers visited recipients and dug to their door so they could get out. They found four who couldn’t even exit their homes due to the amount of snow against their doors. They sent message to the state senator and assemblyman, expressing their concerns over their inability to reach their recipients due to the poor road conditions and the high berms to access the homes.
Meals on Wheels is pleased to report all their recipients made it through the storm and are beginning meal deliveries again. They are always seeking more volunteers to help those who need assistance in getting proper nutrition. Recipients are often without transportation or the ability to make balanced meals due to illness or disability.
Anyone who would like to volunteer as a driver should call (909) 436-8065 or send an email to [email protected] or [email protected]. A delivery route can be assigned close to the driver’s home; it typically takes 1-1/2 to two hours to deliver meals.
Cash donations are always welcome; $65 will cover the meal cost for one recipient for one month, $390 for six months and $780 for one year. Visit MountainMealsonWheels.org for details on how to donate.
Many Meals on Wheels recipients have been unable to receive meal deliveries due to blocked roadways. (Photo by Rhea-Frances Tetley)