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Discover Western Prince William June 2019
6
their own vehicle, and of course have
an open heart to serving people in
need. "An important part of delivering
meals is the interaction," Sarah says.
"Social interaction is important as
people age, and for many of these
residents, the Meals on Wheels
volunteer may be the only person
they see or talk to that day." Volunteers
may be asked to perform small tasks
for meal recipients, such as bringing in
mail and newspapers. Once the route
is completed, volunteers return empty
thermal bags to the senior center.
Prospective volunteers must undergo
an intake process, including a
background check, which can take
a week or two to complete. Once
volunteers are approved, they decide if
the Manassas or Woodbridge location
is more convenient, and then fi gure out
their delivery schedule. While some
people have plenty of free time and
commit to delivering once or more each
week, it's perfectly fi ne to volunteer
less frequently--every two weeks,
once a month, or whatever works for
an individual's schedule.
Prince William County's "Discovering
Your Own Backyard" recently created a
video on the Meals on Wheels program,
following a volunteer through one
of her routes. It offers a wonderful
snapshot of how the program impacts
recipients and volunteers alike. View it
here: https://tinyurl.com/y35wf459
It's important to note that eligibility
for Meals on Wheels isn't based on
income. Donations for the service
are welcome but not required. To
learn if you're eligible to receive Meals
on Wheels, or to learn more about
volunteering, call (703) 792-6374.
~ Nancy Griffi n-Bonnaire
Most of us are fortunate enough to
be able to walk into our kitchen and
prepare a meal, or head to the grocery
store to pick up food, or a restaurant
to eat out. But for the elderly who
are homebound, these tasks may
be diffi cult or impossible. Thanks to
funding through the Older Americans
Act, the Meals on Wheels program
delivers nutritious meals five days
a week to about 220 residents. In
FY2018, approximately 28,500 meals
were delivered throughout the Prince
William County service area.
Sarah Henry, a director at the Prince
William Area Agency on Aging,
explains that the Meals on Wheels
program is offered to residents age
60 and older who are homebound and
cannot prepare meals themselves
or don't have someone available to
prepare meals for them. To determine
if individuals are eligible to receive
meals, they simply call the agency,
and a referral staff member conducts
a phone assessment. While the staff
member can determine Meals on
Wheels eligibility over the phone, he
or she may also learn information that
may indicate that additional services
are needed and suggest an in-home
assessment to determine them.
Recipients are provided with a hot meal,
prepared by chefs in the county's two
senior centers, located in Manassas
and Woodbridge, Monday through
Friday. All meals need to have one-third
the daily recommended dietary intake;
menus are reviewed by a registered
dietician and meet state guidelines for
ensuring nutritional value. Sarah notes
that while they don't cater to specifi c
diets (low salt, etc.), meal recipients
are invited to talk with a dietician to
discuss how they can round out their
diet with other daily meals.
Meals on Wheels would not be a
success without dozens of dedicated
volunteers to deliver meals each
weekday. They pick up meals (kept
in thermal bags) around 10:30 a.m.
from one of the two senior centers
and follow a specifi c route to deliver
them to recipients. The process takes
about two hours to complete.
Volunteers must be at least 18 years
old, have a valid driver's license and
Billy Ritter, Meals on Wheels Volunteer
Prince William Area
Agency on Aging:
Serving the Homebound
with Meals on Wheels
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