North Port's Meals on Wheels will stop deliveries to homebound residents Saturday because it can’t find enough volunteers. The organization has operated out of North Port for the last 33 years. Meals on Wheels has been an institution in North Port. More than 60 volunteers have made hot meals and delivered them to homebound residents since the late 1970s. Some of the volunteers today have been with the organization for 20 years or more. But they can’t continue any longer and ads for help went unanswered. Many clients have made other arrangements, either with family or friends. But for some, the only option is to sign up for the local Senior Friendship Centers' meal delivery program. Reports in the Herald Tribune say that program costs twice as much as Meals on Wheels. But, Cathy Emmett with the Sarasota Venice Senior Friendship Centers says that’s not necessarily the case.
“We also administer a program through federal funds as part of the Older Americans act. And that’s a program that’s a program that’s available to people that are 60 and older. They do have to be assessed for that program to see if they meet the criteria. And that’s a process though that usually takes a couple of weeks for individuals to do. So what we’re doing is for those individuals who can pay privately and many have indicated to us they can but for those who can’t we’re walking them through that process. We’re just trying to make sure nobody goes hungry.”
Under the Senior Friendship Centers' private pay program, clients will pay $5 a meal, which works out to about $100 a month. Instead of six hot meals, there are only five. There’s also a 100 deposit to start receiving meals.
Wednesday, 15 June 2005 01:00