The New Year is a time to set new goals for a fresh start. Getting healthy, paying off debt or giving back to the community are just a few ways people may chose to make a new year great.
For those looking to do the latter, YVEDDI Meals on Wheels is one way to bring not only joy, but needed nutrition into the life of a local senior citizen.
YVEDDI Senior Services Director Lisa Money said they operate 23 home-delivered meal routes in Yadkin and Surry counties and the need is ever increasing.
‚ÄúDespite decades of broad bipartisan support, funding for this vital program continually fails to keep pace with the rapidly growing need for services,‚ÄĚ Money said. ‚ÄúCurrently, we have 58 people waiting for home-delivered nutrition in Surry County, and 19 are waiting in Yadkin County. Meals on Wheels is the only federally supported program designed specifically to meet to meet the nutritional and social needs of home-bound seniors.‚ÄĚ
Providing a meal for someone who may not be easily able to prepare one for themselves is just one way Meals on Wheels benefits the recipient.
‚ÄúThe negative effects of loneliness on health are similar to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day,‚ÄĚ Money said. ‚ÄúThe healthcare costs associated with isolation are equal to the same costs associated with having high blood pressure. Meals on Wheels volunteer drivers are oftentimes the only human contact home-bound seniors have.
‚ÄúInadequate nutrition and/or limited social contact has direct health consequences that affect the healthcare system and economy. YVEDDI Meals on Wheels delivers nutritious meals, friendly visits, and safety checks to the most at-risk seniors,‚ÄĚ she added.
For the fiscal year which ended June 30, 2018, YVEDDI provided 29,817 home-delivered meals for Yadkin County home-bound seniors and 34,587 home-delivered meals in Surry County.
The meals are nutritionally balanced and are delivered by a volunteer driver five days each week, Monday through Friday, exclusive of holidays and inclement weather days. Shelf-stable meals are provided in advance of these days. Mileage reimbursement may be available to volunteer drivers.
Meals on Wheels recipients must be 60 years of age and better and meet eligibility guidelines established by the North Carolina Division of Aging. An in-home assessment is conducted by YVEDDI staff to determine eligibility before beginning service.
YVEDDI Meals on Wheels is funded by OAA (Older American‚Äôs Act) funding, United Fund of Surry, Yadkin County United Fund, Yadkin Valley United Fund, County of Surry, County of Yadkin, private donations, the faith-based community, and fundraising.
‚ÄúMeals on Wheels can serve a senior for an entire year for the same cost as just one day in a hospital, or 10 days in a nursing home,‚ÄĚ Money said.
More than half of Meals on Wheels recipients are age 75 or older. More than half also live alone. Recipients of the meals say it helps them feel more secure, Money said.
Volunteers for Meals on Wheels must be 18 or older, have a valid driver‚Äôs license, and have proof of automobile insurance.
For more information on becoming a Meals on Wheels volunteer, contact the Retired Senior Volunteer Program manager at 336-414-4247. Donations to help financially support YVEDDI Meals on Wheels may be mailed to PO Box 309, Boonville, NC 27011.
Kitsey Burns Harison may be reached at 336-518-3049 or on Twitter and Instagram @RippleReporterK.