Ice hinders food delivery to elderly

Monday, December 10, 2007 | 12:50 p.m. CST; updated 10:38 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

COLUMBIA — Icy conditions are making it difficult for local organizations to provide food to the elderly.

Meals on Wheels did not deliver Monday, and executive director Marcia Walker does not anticipate delivery Tuesday or Wednesday.

The greatest concern is for older volunteers, susceptible to falls themselves, who deliver the meals.

“We are concerned for our volunteers,” Walker said. “The icy conditions make it difficult to get to the doors of our clients.”

Anticipating severe winter weather that would inhibit meal delivery, Walker said Meals on Wheels gave blizzard bags to many of their clients on the Monday after Thanksgiving.

The bags include microwaveable entrees, peanut butter, pudding, raisins and cans of vegetables and fruit. A letter is enclosed with the bag, instructing the client to save the food if inclement weather inhibits delivery of meals to a home.

Walker said many clients receive meals only five days a week and keep additional food at home. Others may be in the care of a friend or relative during the storm.

“People are very compassionate when things like this happen, and bad weather seems to bring out the best in people,” Walker said.

The Central Missouri Area Agency on Aging also halted delivery Monday to the 2,000 clients it serves each day, executive director Jean Leonatti said. The agency delivered blizzard packs to clients at the beginning of winter.

“These packs have around five to seven meals that clients can freeze and use in the interim until we can start making deliveries again,” Leonatti said.

Many of the agency’s senior centers were closed Monday, and meals were not served.

Seniors also may be housebound because of icy sidewalks and driveways. The Boone County Council on Aging has a snow-shoveling program pairing volunteers with seniors, but Executive Director Lois Shelton said no work is being done during the ice storm.

“We’re in a holding pattern right now,” Shelton said. “We just want to make sure that seniors stay safely in their homes until conditions improve.”

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