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Meals on Wheels Provide Essential Service

Local volunteers needed to deliver nutritional meals.

It’s the day before Thanksgiving and Herman Schmid is waiting for lunch.

At about 11:30 a.m., Daria and Jody Wicks pull up in front of his house. They deliver him a hot lunch, fruit and drink. A sandwich for him to eat later is also included in the delivery.

The next day, a different car will pull up, with a different volunteer and that same scenario will be repeated.

The people who deliver the meals will change, but the Mount Vernon Meals on Wheels program guarantees that Schmid will receive a hot meal everyday, Monday through Friday. Some clients also receive meals on weekends and holidays.

“I look forward to it; I get hungry,” Schmid said. “They’re pretty prompt.”

Were it not for the Meals on Wheels, Schmid might subsist on frozen dinners, which is what he gets for himself on weekends. His daughter brings him food and occasionally his neighbors do also, but it’s these delivered meals that he exists on.

Schmid especially likes the meatball dinners and turkey dinners. He said his daughter tried the lasagna and said it was pretty good.

“I think it would be dangerous if I had to cook,” Schmid said.

Schmid is one of many on the receiving end of nutritional meals provided by Inova Mount Vernon Hospital and delivered by dozens of volunteers who spend time every week delivering to homebound clients.

That day, the Wicks were helping their mother, Kathy Wicks, who has been helping out for the past 12 years..

Wicks is a volunteer with Aldersgate United Methodist Church, one of several organizations that provide volunteers.

Cathy Gilfillan also volunteers for St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.

“It’s wonderful; for some of these people it’s the only contact they have during the day. It’s so rewarding,” Gilfillan said.

JIM DUNN COORDINATES a group of volunteers from the Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce. He has a roster of people he can call and he meets them every Wednesday at the rear entrance of the hospital cafeteria. While most people volunteer once a week on a regular basis, he sometimes has to call on substitutes. The Chamber, and other organizations, is always looking for new volunteers.

At 11 a.m., there is a bustle of activity as volunteers from the various organizations check to see who is on their list for the day. They start loading up cooler bags with the various meals in preparation to go out on the road.

“The food is prepared by the hospital kitchen so you don’t have to worry about nutrition,” Dunn said. “The county determines who gets the meal. Some clients stay the same and some change.”

Dunn is especially fond of Eulah Dann. Although she doesn’t like to admit it, Dann's 100 years old, but Dunn said she’s always asking him if he’ll do the Irish Jig with her on St. Patrick’s Day.

Joan Sutton and Bryan Lamartin also enjoy Dann and delivered her meal once this past week.

“She’s so amazing, so peppy,” Sutton said.

Sutton and Lamartin both work for Sunrise Assisted Living at Mount Vernon and are well aware of the importance of seniors receiving nutritional meals.

“A few of the ladies invite you in,” Lamartin said. “One woman whose son was a former police officer gives me an update on how he’s doing.”