CHEERLEADER FOR THE CAUSE
DON CHESNEL, Strafford County
Meals on Wheels Driver
In working for SNMOW for over a decade, Don has encountered hundreds of clients across the community is a broad range of circumstances. “Some folks, just say hello and then you’re on your way, others want to spend more time talking. I try to adjust to what people want on a given day.”
And Don’s support of the pgoramgoes well beyond meal delivery. SNMOW Executive Director Jaymie Chagnon calls him “one of our biggest cheerleaders in the community. He’s always spreading the news about our work and encouraging people to donate to our agency.”
For his part, Don says “I truly didn’t realize how important this service was to people until I joined. People look forward to my visits and I know I’m making a difference. . .that’s very rewarding to me.”
PAULETTE, Berlin, NH
Equal parts of good food and companionship bring Paulette to the Senior Center. “The chicken is one of my favorites and when it coincides with a day when exercise programs like line dancing is offered, it’s a great day!
She says the center is a great place to make new friends and socialize. “I’ve met some wonderful people here,” she says. “You find you have a lot in common with other people and look forward to seeing them here.”
You Can't Ask For More
KEN, Keene, NH
“The people from Meals on Wheels make my day,” says Ken. “Everyone who comes is so friendly, I always look forward to seeing them.”
A native of nearby Belows Falls, VT and “74 years young,” he credits the meals and interactions with drivers with helping him live on his own. He’s been getting meals for over 10 years and says “The food tastes good and it is nutritious. You can’t ask for any more than that.”
Make every call count
CJ, Newport Senior Center/Sullivan County Nutrition Services
Elder Support Services Supervisor
If one is a client at Sullivan County Nutrition Services, odds are you will have met CJ either in person or over the phone.
“This is a great job,” she says. “Sometimes when I get calls from clients or family members, there’s some stress, fear, and worry. Once we can get someone enrolled and set up for meal deliveries, that pressure goes away. To be able to play a part in that is gratifying.” As she is plugged into other programs and services across the community, she also can connect those in need with other resources.
When she talks to new or prospective clients and family members, people tell CJ that they didn’t know Meals on Wheels existed or didn’t think they qualified. “Sometimes we’re the best kept secret in town, so we tell everyone we meet to spread the word.”
She added that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased social isolation among older adults. “Sullivan county is fairly remote,” she says. “Some people were a little cut off prior to COVID and it only gotten worse. That is one reason why this work is so critical.”
CJ has been with the organization for 3 years and says “I love our clients and enjoy hearing their stories. I know being that voice on the other end of the phone means a lot to them, so I make every call count.”
A valuable endeavor
JONATHAN, Newport Senior Center/Sullivan County Nutrition Services
The importance of client interactions became very real to Jonathan the day he found a person in distress. “When I knocked on the door, I could hear someone yelling for help, so I called 911 and waited for EMS to arrive. Everything turned out to be OK but that really reinforced for me how valuable those check-ins are.”
As a member of the organization for more than 5 years, he says he’s like deliveries and conversations. “So many people have led such interesting lives, the things they’ve done, the experiences they’ve had. I really enjoy getting to know people. You develop a relationship with people- you care about them, and they care about you.”
While he likes pretty much every aspect of his job, he says you can’t beat the greetings he gets from most people.
“They are glad to see me! “
Great peace of mind
VIRGINIA, Newport, NH
As a client for the past 2 years, Virginia lists the stewed tomatoes and the macaroni and cheese as favorites on her list. “But all of the food is good, and this service is so helpful to me,” she said. “I’m unable to drive to the store as often as I would like, so having the meals delivered give me a great piece of mind.”
“I tell all of my friends how great the food is.”
You Can't Beat It
BOB, Berlin, NH
“I’ve got a broad-minded stomach,” jokes Bob. The 87-year-old enjoys “all of the meals that are delivered as well as the companionship offered by the driver. I like to talk.”
Prior to his retirement, Bob was a fixture on local radio in the North Country. He served as station manager and talk show host for years. At one point, he even broadcast a show in French.
He “highly recommends” the meals. He’s recovering from a car accident and says, “it’s hard to cook sometimes and this service is a real help to me.”
“You can’t beat it.”
A WONDERFUL PROGRAM
Brenda, Concord, NH
Meals on Wheels Client
Among her favorite meals are fish and Swedish meatballs but what also means a lot to Brenda are the regular check-ins. “They really lift my spirits. I can’t say enough about what that means to me.”
Brenda enjoys doing crafts and taking care of her bird, Sweet Pea. It’s hard for her to get around sometimes so having the meals home delivered has meant a lot to her quality of life. She knew about Meals on Mheels from family members and is glad she started the service for herself about 2 years ago. “They (CAPBM) really do take care of us,” she says.
“They always ask how I’m doing. Sometimes they even call me to check in. This is a wonderful program.”