Posted: Nov 01, 2022 7:00 AM

Newtown Meals on Wheels thanked its volunteers – who make it possible to deliver food to those in need – in the perfect way on October 18: with a meal.

The event took place at the Newtown Civic Center with The Better Day Café for the event. Newtown Meals on Wheels Chair Marg Studley welcomed everyone once seats were filled and everyone filled out name tags.

“We’re very, very grateful for your time,” Studley said. She later added, “Without you, I don’t know where we would be.”

According to a brochure distributed at the event, Newtown Meals on Wheels is a community food service program that provides low-cost, medically approved and nutritionally balanced meals for disabled, elderly or convalescing people who are confined to the home. home and who cannot prepare their own meals.

It is a state-chartered non-profit institution run by volunteers with a mission to provide and personally deliver meals to those in need of the service, regardless of income.

While the brochure said the service had been available in the Newtown community since 1969, some participants said they remembered it from other years, such as 1970 or 1974.

“Okay, a long time ago…” Studley joked.

The event was also organized for volunteers to “put faces to names” as many drivers only interact with organizers by phone, especially in the last two years of the pandemic.

The brochure explains: “Anyone in the community who qualifies can receive one meal a day for as long as it is determined that they need the service. Meals are not free but the cost is low and reduced in difficult situations. Meals are billed and paid for by mail monthly at the option of the recipient. Meals are prepared under the strict supervision of a dietician and are cooked by professional staff.

Meals are prepared at the Newtown Rehabilitation & Health Care Center. All meals are placed in bags which are then collected by volunteers. The bags also include driving directions, with pre-determined routes and instructions on how to drop off food specifically for each person using the service.

Colleen Honan, Newtown Meals on Wheels board member and driver coordinator, spoke after Studley, and she asked each of the people calling the volunteer drivers to stand up so the drivers know who they are with. interact during these calls. Each person stood, with murmurs of hello and some applause from the assembled group.

Honan said she’s been volunteering for the program for 29 years, and she shared some tips for fellow volunteers, like checking that food names match the person’s names at each stop. She also said that if there is no cooler on a property, volunteers should not leave meals.

And thanks to driving directions created by Newtown Meals on Wheels volunteers, Honan said, “You won’t get lost in Newtown.

Newtown Meals on Wheels board member Janet Hovious explained that the routes are created using a (now out of print) map of Newtown. When people are added to the service, their homes are added as small stickers on the map.

Addresses are not shared with anyone outside of the program. The best route to get to that house is then determined by seeing all the other stops in that section of town.

Before the event ended, Studley said, “It’s so wonderful to see you all here.”

Speaking about her experience with Newtown Meals on Wheels, she said it was “the most rewarding volunteer I have ever done”.

Newtown Meals on Wheels has openings for volunteers. To volunteer as a Meals On Wheels driver, contact Honan at 203-426-0714.

Education Editor Eliza Van can be reached at [email protected]

Members of the Newtown Meals on Wheels Board of Directors in attendance gather at the October 18 event to thank the volunteers. —Bee photo, pickup truck

Colleen Honan, Newtown Meals on Wheels board member and driver coordinator, speaks at the Oct. 18 event.