The Renegade Rip

“Meals on Wheels” brings food to homebound seniors in Bakersfield

Sabrina Lopez, Reporter

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Sabrina Lopez

Employees from Pacifica Senior Living volunteering at the Rasmussen Senior Center for the 16th annual March for Meals.

North of the River held its 16th annual March for Meals campaign from March 19 – March 23. The event was held at the Rasmussen Senior Center, but was enacted into law 46 years ago by a measure that amended the older American Act of 1965 that established a national nutrition program for seniors 60 years an older, by then President Richard Nixon.

Here in Kern County the Meals on Wheels Programs have come together each March since 2002, to collaborate with the public, local community organizations, and businesses to raise awareness because there is a great need in our community for our homebound seniors.

Senior Service Supervisor, Desiree Ingalls said, “…this event goes on all the month of March and is put on to raise awareness nationwide for the meals on wheels program.  Here at NOR we provide homebound seniors with meals five days out of the week and that averages up to 250 meals per day.”

This service enables seniors to remain as independent as they can and in their own homes longer to prevent their premature institutionalization. Seniors who qualify for the meals on wheels service are homebound due to chronic disabilities that prevent them from shopping for food and preparing meals to meet their daily nutritional needs.

James McCright a meals on wheels recipient had this to say, “I appreciate this program because people like me need help and its good for us to be able to get it, because I have no way of getting to the store… I’m handicapped and I have no one else to help me.”

“Meals on Wheels” is not an income based program. So, for each meal there is a suggested two dollar donation. However, if a senior is unable to pay, they will not be turned away. The program is funded by County, State and federal grants, Kern county Aging and Adult services and NOR’s general fund. They also rely heavily on sponsors and volunteers to drive these meals to homebound seniors.

Drivers like 21 year old Josephine Maldonado, “I started doing this because I needed a job …but overtime it became more than a job, and I saw how alone and in need these people are… not just for food but for conversation and a simple smile. I realized they were helping me way more than I was helping them and I just love it so much it really has just impacted my life in the best way.”

March is the Month to bring awareness to this great need in our community. But together its need we can all fill and its great opportunity for high school and college students to fulfill their community service hours. NOR only asks that people please consider becoming a sponsor, either corporately or individually. Adopt a senior or an entire route, make new friends and help someone in need.

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“Meals on Wheels” brings food to homebound seniors in Bakersfield