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January 7, 1995

Most of us know very little about the Meals on Wheels program that serves a number of families in this community. It's something you likely don't hear much about unless you are personally involved through the participation of family members or friends. The short story about it is this: It serves a major need for those who are unable to prepare a hot meal for themselves at least once a day.

In the normal course of events, the Wheatheart Nutrition Center handles all aspects of this program five days a week, all through the year. Most of us are vaguely aware of at least that much. However, it was news to me that the center receives much-needed relief and backup support during the November-December holiday season from the Perry Ministerial Alliance, and maybe you did not know that, either. It is truly a labor of love for those who take part.

This holiday assistance was started in 1993 by women of the First Christian church as a means of assuring a nutritious meal for all of the program's clients even when the Nutrition Center kitchen is closed because of the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's holidays. After learning of this worthwhile endeavor, the Perry Ministerial Alliance asked to be included in the holiday season arrangement in 1994.

The Christian church ladies again this year prepared the food and cooked the meals, while men from several churches in the Alliance took on the responsibility of delivering them to the homes where the service was requested. Names of those to be served were provided by the Nutrition Center. The number of homes varies from day to day because not all clients are home each time. Part of the program requires that the families be contacted individually ahead of time to be sure they want a meal on a particular day.

On Thanksgiving day, 23 meals were prepared, and that same number was included on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. For Christmas day (Sunday) and the following Monday, 19 meals were prepared and delivered Likewise, 19 meals also were needed for New Year's Day (Sunday). A double quantity was delivered that day so no additional meals were needed for the following day, Monday.

The Thanksgiving menus consisted of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, fruit salad and cake. On Christmas it was turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, noodles, fruit salad and cake. The New Year's fare was turkey and ham sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, fruit salad, cake, cookies and candy. Making you hungry yet?

Women of the Christian church who worked in the kitchen were Shirley Morton, Dona Lee Powers, Bunnie Klinglesmith, Linda Scott, Maxine Schwartz and Verna Skouby. Cakes were provided by Mrs. Jim Holt and Mrs. Gene Bay. Deliveries were made by men of the Zion Lutheran, First Baptist, Nazarene and Presbyterian churches.

Our community is blessed with an abundance of people, who go quietly about their way, doing good things for which they neither ask nor expect recognition. Their actions are motivated by a love and respect for their fellow man. It is a pleasure to make known some of these deeds in this fashion. What they do, and the reasons they do it, surely contributes to the wonderful quality of life all of us enjoy. Our heartfelt thanks to all such fine folks.