Meals on Wheels volunteers make sure elderly, sick people are safe and warm

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – For the last three years, Dorothy McBride has spent about an hour once a week to deliver meals to seniors and people with medical problems on the west side of Columbus.

“I feel it’s important to give back to the community,” McBride, who started volunteering shortly before she retired, said.

The meal delivery service offered by LifeCare Alliance is a service on which many people depend, including Charles Dillon.

“I have trouble getting around and stuff,” Dillon said.

The cold weather makes that even more difficult for Dillon and others like him.

“I got a friend of mine, she helps me out, but she lives in Lancaster, and cause it’s bad weather, she can’t get in like she normally does,” Dillon said.

That means volunteers like McBride need to check on the elderly and sick people who get meals to make sure they’re warm and safe.

“Some open up their gas range doors and try to heat a little extra from those, which is a disaster waiting to happen,” Chuck Gehring, president and CEO of LifeCare Alliance said.

Gehring described some of the other problems they see, including people who can’t afford heat and set their thermostats to a temperature that’s too low, and others who cannot shovel their sidewalks or porches, risking a fall.

Gehring and McBride both said it’s a reminder to everyone to check on elderly or vulnerable neighbors, making sure their sidewalks and porches are shoveled and that their furnaces are working properly.

For many, the meal deliveries are a godsend.

“I’m handicapped,” Donald Collins, Sr. said. “I have COPD real bad, and I can’t get too much and move around, and I can’t cook too long.”

He added, “I think it’s the most wonderfulest thing that the people are doing.”

McBride hopes other people will check on their neighbors this time of year to make sure they’re all right.

“I feel like you’re giving something back to the community and it’s just nice to see the appreciation of the people out there,” McBride said.

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