SUISUN CITY — Cathy Hall believes that senior citizens are a group who sometimes gets left behind.
It’s in the nature of seniors to be independent, Hall said, so they are often reluctant to ask for help.
But as the executive director of Solano County Meals on Wheels, Hall sees the effects and difficulties of aging every day.
“Aging isn’t easy,” she said.
Meals on Wheels staff and volunteers aren’t about to let seniors be forgotten, though. Five days a week, volunteer drivers help homebound and in-need seniors get enough to eat by delivering meals either directly to their homes or to local senior centers.
Kitchen staff prepares fresh, low-fat, low-sodium meals planned by dietitians. Individual frozen meals are delivered to homebound seniors while hot meals are delivered to the senior centers.
About 143 individuals donate their time to deliver these meals to seniors in Fairfield, Suisun City, Vallejo, Dixon, Benicia, Vacaville and Rio Vista.
Most of Solano County Meals on Wheels funding comes from grants, but a good portion of its annual income comes from donations.
To raise awareness and funds for the organization, Meals on Wheels recently published “Made With Love: The Meals on Wheels Family Cookbook.” The cookbook features recipes from famous chefs and celebrities, such as Helen Mirren, Martha Stewart, Mario Batali and more.
The proceeds from the book will help alleviate food costs for Meals on Wheels, Hall said.
Food costs are a considerable portion of the budget and will only grow as the baby boomer generation grows older, said Lorie Espinosa, Meals on Wheels operations manager.
In Solano County alone, Meals on Wheels delivers 800 meals per day, 600 of which are home delivery.
Intake coordinator Natalie Silva said the home delivery program serves more purpose than just delivering food. Volunteer drivers serve as a daily contact with the clients, Silva said. Though the driver may not be able spend much time with a client, they are able to check in on them every day.
Volunteer drivers Jerry and Dorothy Dale, of Rio Vista, said they hope when they’re old enough someone will check in on them.
The Dales, both 62, started volunteering because they were able to give back.
“As you get even older, you’re easily forgotten,” Jerry Dale said. “The whole world is geared toward young people. We’re geared towards helping the elderly.”
Meals on Wheels is holding a fundraiser event on March 5 at Mary’s Pizza Shack in Fairfield, Vacaville and Dixon. All three Mary’s locations will donate a monetary percentage based on meals served to the Meals on Wheels meals program.
To learn more about Meals on Wheels or to purchase the “Made With Love” cookbook, visit www.mealsonwheelssolano.org.
Reach Heather Ah San at 427-6977 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/HeatherMalia.