HomeCranbury PressCranbury Press NewsLawrence and Mercer County merge Meals on Wheels

Lawrence and Mercer County merge Meals on Wheels

Aiming to provide more services and supports to its clients, Lawrence Township Meals on Wheels will merge with Mercer County Meals on Wheels, beginning Jan. 1, 2019.

Meals on Wheels – both the Lawrence Township and Mercer County programs – provide a hot meal at lunchtime to home-bound senior citizens, as well as to those who are chronically ill or recovering from surgery or other ailments. There is a cost for the meals, but subsidies are available.

Several Lawrence Township church congregations saw the need to provide meals to the home-bound, chronically ill or convalescent from among their congregants, and out of that need grew the Lawrence Township Meals on Wheels program. It was established in 1982.

From serving its initial two clients in 1982, the Lawrence Township Meals on Wheels program has grown to serving an average of 30 clients per year. Volunteers deliver a hot meal around noon on weekdays – as many as five days per week.

“(But) after 36 years of service, the organization felt we can better meet the needs of our clients by joining with a larger organization with the same mission that will be able to provide more services and supports,” said Terrie Mansmann, vice president of the Lawrence Township Meals on Wheels Board of Trustees.

“We are comfortable with the shift to Mercer County Meals on Wheels because we care about the same thing – feeding the hungry,” Mansmann said. Many of the Lawrence Township program’s volunteers will continue to volunteer with the Mercer County Meals on Wheels program, she added.

While the Lawrence Township Meals on Wheels and the Mercer County Meals on Wheels programs each deliver meals to clients as many as five days per week, the larger program can also deliver a limited number of weekend meals, according to its website, www.mealsonwheelsmercer.org.

But unlike the Lawrence Township Meals on Wheels program, the Mercer County program offers meals plan options – the one-meal plan, which is a hot meal, and the two-meal plan, which is a hot meal plus a cold meal.

The hot meal includes a meat or pasta entree, two side orders such as applesauce, mixed vegetables, peas, carrots or green beans, and milk, bread, salad and a dessert. The second “cold meal” includes a sandwich, milk, a vegetable and a dessert.

The Mercer County Meals on Wheels program also delivers a “blizzard bag,” which is a meal in a zippered plastic bag, during the winter months so clients will have a meal on hand if inclement weather closes down the program and volunteers are unable to deliver a meal.

Special diets are available, if the client’s physician orders it, as well as a limited number of vegetarian options. The program is unable to accommodate clients with life-threatening food allergies, however.

Since some clients may be alone on Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Mercer County Meals on Wheels program provides an extra meals in advance to ensure that they have a meal on the holiday.

In addition to the home-delivered meals, Mercer County Meals on Wheels clients receive a bag of non-perishable items – canned vegetables, fruits, salmon or tuna, soup, juice and cereal – once a month, through its partnership with the Mercer Street Friends Food Bank.

And recognizing that some clients have pets, specialized food bags can be delivered once a week so Kitty or Fido will have something to eat, too.

For more information about the Mercer County Meals on Wheels program, call the office at 609-695-3483, send an email to info@mealsonwheels.org, or visit www.mealsonwheelsmercer.org.

 

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