This week marked a great start to CCE’s 2016 community partnership with our local Meals on Wheels branch. Meals on Wheels America is the largest national organization centered upon serving seniors in the United States. Its goals can often be assumed by its name alone, but it is important to understand that the organization does even more for seniors than deliver nutritious meals to their door. Meals on Wheels is flexible and caters to seniors of various levels, with no age or financial requirements necessary to qualify. Many elderly citizens across the nation, especially those living in lower socioeconomic classes, often become homebound due to medical complications or age constraints. Without means to drive to the grocery store or money for delivery, seniors’ activities of daily living are interrupted and they are at risk of being left hungry or forced to eat unhealthy frozen meals. The goal of Meals on Wheels America is to combat this issue by assisting at-risk seniors in maintaining independent lives and respecting their social dignity.
CCE volunteers who work with our local Meals on Wheels subdivision have been training all semester to assist the organization by helping to locate seniors within the greater Uniondale who may benefit from Meals on Wheels enrollment. This information is gathered through canvassing efforts, in which volunteers go door-to- door in low-income communities to educate citizens on what Meals on Wheels has to offer and how they can get involved or share information with someone who needs assistance. This week, two rounds of canvassing have been successfully completed through the work of CCE. In the near future, student volunteers will also be working with Meal’s on Wheel’s’ “Friendly Visits” program, in which students are paired with seniors for weekly in-home meetings. Friendly visits attempt to facilitate the social life of the senior, while also providing valuable learning opportunities for volunteers. Being that many seniors live alone, Meals on Wheels check-ins and friendly visits are essential safety-checks to be sure that seniors in our community are living healthy lives as independents. If you’d like to get involved in volunteer efforts, please contact CCE co-director Dr. Greg Maney at Gregory.M.Maney@hofstra.edu.