When senior centers in the county were closed because of a snowstorm earlier this month, Meals on Wheels were also suspended.
Wilma Gilmer of Marion receives Meals on Wheels regularly because she has difficulty getting out of her home. However, she was well prepared for the storm.
“I always have enough here in the freezer,” she said. “I never go hungry.”
For other Meals on Wheels recipients who might not have been so prepared, senior centers found ways to keep patrons from going hungry.
Marion Senior Center was closed and didn’t send Meals on Wheels for two days because of the storm.
However, in the fall the center offered “emergency meals” to patrons. They are packages of food that don’t require refrigeration, cooking, or a can-opener. One package is supposed to be enough for two meals.
An example emergency meal found Thursday included a can of potatoes and turkey ham in cheese, one single-serving package each of peanut butter, sunflower seeds, cereal, and animal crackers, a chewy granola bar, a fruit cup, three juice boxes, and three single-serving packages each of instant dry milk, seasoned crackers, and wheat crackers.
Center manager Janet Bryant said that meal looked better than the emergency meals offered in years past. The center can also provide emergency meals in the spring in case recipients lose power during a storm.
Hillsboro Senior Center anticipated the storm and prepared two days of extra meals to send to recipients ahead of the storm. Center manager Brenda Moss estimated 50 extra meals were sent before the storm.
“It’s a good thing we did, because we were closed two days,” Moss said.
She said the center tries to anticipate weather like that and deliver in advance. The center also has emergency meals like those Marion offers.
Peabody Senior Center only suspended meal delivery for a single day. The center was closed for eat-in meals a second day, but the cooks and drivers came in to get meals delivered to shut-ins, cook Kim Nellans said.
And like Hillsboro, the Peabody center delivered extra meals the day before the storm, although only one day’s worth.