In keeping with its longstanding work in the community, The Rotary Club of Chardon continues to give back by volunteering for the Geauga County Department of Aging (GDA) Meals on Wheels program.
The Rotating Club has been involved in the program since 2002, and Jim McCaskey, club member and Munson Township administrator, said the Rotating Club delivers at least 750 meals a year.
“It’s literally Uber Eats for seniors, so all we do is report to the department of aging,” McCaskey said. “They provide the itinerary and have everything packed up and just need people to drive.”
The GDA Meals on Wheels program provides a hot meal for lunch, Monday through Friday, to seniors over the age of 60 who are housebound and have medical conditions that prevent them from self-preparing. even meals.
Program coordinator Kristen Bibby said Chardon Rotary offers one of Chardon’s routes each week on Mondays. “We have four senior centers in Geauga County (Chardon, West Geauga, Middlefield and Bainbridge) and each center has a set of routes totaling 19 routes throughout Geauga County,” Ms. Bibby said.
GDA also provides short-term meals for those returning home from hospitalization who need a meal briefly during home rehabilitation.
Ms Bibby said GDA serves around 240 older people a day, up to five days a week. “For public holidays, the program is closed, but an additional meal is sent to the customer before any closure to cover the meal we would otherwise provide.”
McCaskey said the Rotary club makes deliveries on Mondays, which works perfectly since their meetings are at noon that day. “We start around eleven o’clock and it takes about an hour to deliver the meals and then we go to our meetings.”
Mr McCaskey said he did it for the first time at his former employer. “We took one person from the office and one person from the field and put them in the car for an hour,” McCaskey said. “They would learn more about each other delivering meals than you could ever imagine.”
After quitting his previous job, Mr. McCaskey was still at the Chardon Rotary Club and one day while having lunch he thought our Rotary Club could do it.
“We’re just support but it’s good support,” McCaskey said. “It’s literally getting in a car and making sure these seniors have a nutritious meal for a day, so it’s a humbling experience.”
Ms Bibby said the meal provides a third of an elderly person’s daily nutritional needs and the volunteer provides a friendly visit to ensure safety and well-being.
Although the program does not deliver meals on holidays, the Rotary club has a special visiting day set aside for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
“What they do on those days is they try to match a family with a resident or a client so that a lot of people join in on that special day,” McCaskey said. “They’re looking to come visit and spend some time because these people usually don’t have family to hang out with.”
Mr McCaskey said he wanted more people to volunteer for the scheme.
“There are thousands of people who are able and can drive Uber Eats for an hour,” McCaskey said. “It’s about making sure someone has food on the table and it’s as simple as possible, so I’d like to see more people volunteering.”
He said people don’t have to commit every week, “just commit one day a month and help the Department on Aging.”
Funding for the Meals on Wheels program comes primarily from the Geauga County Senior Services Tax as well as donations that can be made to the GDA at 470 Center Street, Building 2, Chardon to help serve customers current and future program.
“It’s just a good feeling and there’s no other way to put it.” said Mr. McCaskey. “You look at them and you think ‘hey, it could be my grandma or my grandpa’ and you’re glad someone is helping them.”