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January 21, 1995

This is an update on last week's column about our senior citizens' need for help. So far, the Wheatheart Nutrition Center has received many additional requests for meals, but only one new volunteer to deliver them. I am a little surprised, but maybe it's just going to take time for more folks to react to this problem

You'll recall that Jeanie Votaw, outreach worker at the center, made it known in this space that a serious need exists for people to deliver the hot meals that are prepared each weekday at Wheatheart for qualified residents of our community. Since then she has had many calls from families and individuals asking to be added to the program, and that just intensifies the need for more people to deliver the food.

Three overworked volunteers now distribute the meals but more like them are being sought to share in this humanitarian effort. It does not take a lot of time, scheduling of days can be worked out to suit anyone's availability, and the center's van can be used as the delivery vehicle. Meals are prepared by the center and detailed instructions for delivery are provided by Mrs. Votaw. It is so simple really. All that's needed is a few willing workers.

Since the center has taken over the former Meals on Wheels program, a 50 percent price reduction has become possible. But each applicant for this service must meet certain criteria. Not everyone can qualify for the program; close scrutiny is required to make sure there is no misapplication of funds, no waste and no fraud. It is, as you might imagine, a delicate but necessary job.

Now, there are still other cases involving some of the older or more incapacitated residents of this community, and help is also needed for them. Most of that aspect involves such simple things as calling on them once in a while to make sure they're all right, but they also need help with chores that seem routine to us but are impossible for them to carry out because of physical disabilities.

This is a legitimate problem in our town, but things like this have been worked out before and this one can, too. All it takes is a few willing members of church and fraternal organizations, service clubs and just plain unaffiliated folks who are willing to invest a few hours to help some of those in our community who have no one else to turn to.

The organization you belong to may be willing to consider stepping into lend a hand, but it may be up to you to bring the matter to their attention. Or you can act on your own. Just pick up the phone and call Jeanie Votaw at the center, 336-3467, or at her home, 336-3050, after 1 p.m. weekdays. A lot of voiceless people in this community will appreciate it.