hope mission

This nutritious lunch provided by the Hope Mission of Carteret County Meals on Wheels program sits on the walker of Bernice Giblin, 91, of Morehead City on Tuesday. She is one of nearly 50 county homebound residents being served through the program, and more volunteer delivery drivers are needed. (Cheryl Burke photo)

 

MOREHEAD CITY — As food prices continue to soar, many seniors and shut-ins are struggling to keep nutritious meals on their tables.

Others, because of limited mobility, find the preparation of meals difficult.

Thanks to Hope Mission of Carteret County’s Meals on Wheels program, nearly 50 homebound residents are receiving a home-cooked lunch five days a week, plus supplemental meals on certain weekends.

As the demand for the service increases, Meals on Wheels coordinator Mattie Lewis said Tuesday, March 29, more volunteers are needed to deliver lunches to clients’ homes.

“Without drivers, we can’t expand our clientele,” she said. “We have five people right now on our waiting list for meals, and we don’t like to turn people away. I’ve gotten three calls for assistance this week.”

For clients, like Michael Reynolds, 64, of Morehead City, who has Parkinson’s disease, it’s not only the home-cooked meals that he looks forward to.

“It’s the feeling of the community being concerned about other people in the community,” he said. “It helps fill some of the feelings of loneliness as well.”

Bernice Giblin, 91, of Morehead City, agreed.

“It means a lot to not have to stand and get meals ready,” she said as she stood with the help of a walker. “I can rest and have a good meal without the preparation.”

Hope Mission, the nonprofit Christian organization, recently added Meals on Wheels as another way to provide food to those in need. The mission already offers a community kitchen but wanted to reach out to provide nutritious food to the homebound in Carteret County.

The lunches are prepared by volunteers and staff in the community kitchen each morning, with drivers picking them up for delivery about 10:30 a.m. Each driver has an assigned route. There are currently six routes throughout Morehead City and Atlantic Beach.

Many drivers deliver one day a week, and more substitute drivers are needed to fill in slots when regular drivers aren’t available.

Volunteer drivers, like Doug Hammer of Pine Knoll Shores, said he looks forward to his delivery day each Tuesday.

“It’s just knowing these people get a warm meal each day,” Mr. Hammer said as he delivered meals Tuesday. “I am very blessed so I can help others. Some of these people can’t get out, and some of these people don’t have anybody living with them. So, we can do a wellness check, too.”

Kathy Marcheselli of Morehead City, too, said she enjoys her route each week.

“It’s so fun, and I absolutely love it,” she said as she picked up meals to deliver. “The folks here at Hope Mission are friendly, grateful and welcoming. Just knowing I’m delivering food to those who need it is very rewarding.”

Driver Don Waters of Morehead City added, “It’s not just delivering the food, it’s the companionship. I like talking to them, and it really doesn’t take that much time.”

Marion Cunningham, service coordinator for Ekklesia Apartments, a supportive housing complex for seniors in Morehead City, said she picks up meals at the mission each day for residents who have signed up.

“I’ve had as many as 20 residents getting meals. There’s 102 residents at Ekklesia, and the average age is 80. I am very appreciative of all Hope Mission is doing with this program. For some of these residents, this is the only meal they may eat each day. And during COVID, they have been very isolated.”

Ms. Lewis said providing brief companionship for the homebound was just as important to her as providing the meals.

“Each driver can check to make sure seniors are doing OK,” she said. “Each driver receives a protocol list to check and make sure the residents are safe and there is no abuse or neglect.”

If a volunteer finds that a resident is in distress physically or otherwise, she said they can contact 911 or other agencies to make sure authorities are aware of the situation.

If drivers find a resident who needs assistance with certain tasks, Hope Mission may be able to send volunteers to assist the person, depending on the need.

There are certain criteria to receive Meals on Wheels with Hope Mission. They must be at least 60 years old or disabled, unable to leave home without assistance and be unable to prepare their own meals.

Those wanting to sign up for meals or learn more about volunteering to drive for Meals on Wheels can call 252-240-2359, ext. 4.

Hope Mission is a 501(c)3 nonprofit ministry serving disadvantaged persons of Carteret County through ministries of food, clothing, financial assistance, recovery from substance abuse, shelter for homeless, compassion, prayer and other means of support.  The mission of the organization is to address the needs of poverty, homelessness and substance abuse in Carteret County.

 

Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email Cheryl@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.

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