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Food drive: mayors deliver meals to housebound seniors

Thursday, April 18, 20131303 views

Mayors from across the Salt Lake Valley want to drive home the message that delivering food to seniors through the Meals on Wheels program is a vital part of a healthy community.

On March 20, Salt Lake County Aging Services, in an event called Mayors for Meals, partnered with Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams and mayors from cities throughout the valley to deliver meals to seniors. The food drive was kicked off in West Valley City at Cirris Systems, a local business that supports Meals on Wheels by donating employee hours to serve meals.

The event was meant to raise awareness of the service and call for volunteer support.

“This service means something in our community,” McAdams said. “This service makes a difference.”

During the event, mayors partnered with participating businesses to deliver meals within their city.  McAdams and West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder rode along with volunteers from Cirris Systems; South Salt Lake City Mayor Cherie Wood partnered with Stantec/Citywide; Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan delivered meals with Becton Dickinson Medical staff; South Jordan City Mayor Scott Osborne went with employees from Extend Health; Alta Mayor Tom Pollard worked with staff members from Sandy Senior Center; Riverton City Mayor Bill Applegarth set out with volunteers from Adventure Church in Draper; and Cottonwood Heights Mayor Kelvin Cullimore rode along with Salt Lake County Meals on Wheels staff.

Salt Lake County Aging Services’ Meals on Wheels program has been in place to serve seniors for more than 40 years. The meals are prepared to help provide good nutrition for seniors over 60 years old who don’t have the support or resources to maintain a quality diet.

This year, the program will provide more than 6,800 meals to about 1,400 homebound seniors seven days a week.

Meals on Wheels staff are a critical support network to check in on participating seniors each day to make sure they are safe and healthy, and are maintaining their security and a measure of independence in their own homes.

Mayors for Meals was a call for more support for the program from individuals and area businesses. Volunteer support to deliver meals frees up Meals on Wheels budget funding to purchase more food, rather than pay the salaries of staff, so the money that is available can be stretched to serve more seniors.

Salt Lake County Aging Services spokesperson Ken Venables said support from private business sector partners is critical to meet the needs of serving hungry, housebound seniors.

“We are focused on people who can’t provide for themselves,” he said. “We want to ensure no senior ever goes hungry in our community. These partnerships are key.”

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