By Lynn Monty
Meals on Wheels volunteer Alison Logan of Shelburne takes about two hours a month to deliver prepared meals to her house-bound neighbors in Shelburne and Charlotte. She said the non-profit could use a few more helping hands.
Burlington Meals on Wheels Executive Director Peter Carmolli helped Logan load about a dozen meals into a cooler, and into her car at Cathedral Square in Burlington last week. Carmolli and his staff begin to prepare about 250 meals at 5am each morning at the Burlington kitchen to be delivered to the elderly and infirm in the greater Burlington area, namely Shelburne, Charlotte, Winooski and Colchester.
“We feed anyone who can’t feed themselves,” Carmolli said. “Age is not a requirement.”
Logan said being a volunteer is easy to do, doesn’t take a lot of time, and is rewarding. “A lot of seniors are lonely,” she said. “I have developed some very dear friendships. Some want to talk, some just want the meal, either way I always try to have a smile on my face, and to give a happy hello. Sometimes Meals on Wheels volunteers are the only people they get to see all week.”
Ham, scalloped potatoes, and carrots were prepared for delivery Sept. 3. The cost to make each meal is $5.86. Clients are asked to pay what they can. On average, Carmolli said he gets about .80 cents a meal.
“There is no reason anyone in this state should be going without,” Carmolli said. “We help keep people out of the hospital and out of nursing homes. We can feed one person for an entire year for what it costs to stay in the hospital for one night. It is money and time well spent.”
Burlington Meals on Wheels Development Director Peter Crapo of Shelburne helped out in the kitchen. He even did a taste-test of the day’s meal and dubbed it delicious. “We have a good time here, and these fellas are hardworking, dedicated and sensitive to all of our members’ food needs,” he said of the staff.
Crapo said the better the funding, the better the meals they can provide. “We have operating expenses to cover and food costs are going up year to year,” he said.
Not to mention all of the unexpected expenses. “Our freezer just broke down and it’s a $4,000 fix,” Carmolli said. “It’s a big hit for us. It really hacks into our budget.”
Volunteers and donations keep the non-profit up and running, Carmolli said. “The volunteers are the life blood of our operation.”
A fundraiser is being held at La Villa Bistro in Shelburne on Sept. 15 from 5pm to 9pm. Reservation for the event can be made by calling 985-2596.
For more information on Meals on Wheels call Peter Carmolli at 862-6253 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Lynn Monty at 985-3091 or Lynn@WindRidgePublishing.com. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/VermontSongbird.