At 11 a.m. every Thursday and Friday, Dorothy Conyers loads up her car at Marion Senior Center and begins her circuit around Marion, delivering Meals on Wheels to shut-ins.
“I love it,” she said Thursday. “I love the people.”
Most days she delivers about 14 meals. Sometimes it is as many as 17 and other times it is as few as 11. Making her deliveries takes about an hour.
Her deliveries are mostly to the same people every day. Bula Good has been part of Conyers’ route since she began volunteering two years ago.
Good said the delivered meals are a big help because she doesn’t see well and can’t drive. She also likes having a visitor every day.
“I’m glad they have it,” Good said. “I really appreciate it. The food is good, too.”
She appreciates the value of Meals on Wheels even more since friends north of Kansas City lost their program. Good said they are in a pinch now.
For Merrell and Jean Branson, losing their local Meals on Wheels program was part of their reason for moving to Marion from Goessel after AGAPE Senior Center closed. Merrell Branson said the volunteers who deliver the meals have been helpful with other things, such as Conyers helping him put up curtains.
Pat Hagan said receiving the meals provides better nutrition than she would get if left to herself.
“Otherwise I would probably eat a bologna sandwich,” she said. “And it just means a lot to see someone at lunch.”
Not all of the Meals on Wheels recipients are long-term shut-ins, Conyers said. Senior citizens recovering from surgery sometimes opt to participate for a while, she said.
Conyers delivers only one of three Meals on Wheels routes out of Marion Senior Center. Her route covers northern Marion, as well as Eastshore at Marion Reservoir. Another route covers southern Marion and Marion County Lake. A third route delivers to shut-ins in Florence. The three routes combine for about 30 meals delivered per day.
Another 20 meals per day are delivered most days by volunteers at Hillsboro Senior Center. Site director Brenda Moss said they have four regulars who deliver for a week at a time, rotating between the four, as well as a couple of substitute drivers.
Volunteers at Peabody Senior Center deliver 10 to 12 meals per day. On Fridays, the drivers can also drop off frozen meals to help shut-ins through the weekend. Meals on Wheels aren’t handouts any more than meals eaten at one of the senior centers. Recipients are asked to make the same $2.75 donation senior center patrons are asked for.