To the editor:
In response to a recent "Open Line" comment, I feel compelled to comment from a driver's point of view.
I have been associated with the Home Delivered Meal program for many years. This is a wonderful service that is very much needed, especially due to the face that so many elderly people are living alone in their own homes instead of being put in nursing homes. The driver has nothing to do with getting people on the program or taking them off the program. Our HDM consumers have been assessed by a caseworker who determines if they meet the criteria to be on or off the program.
I think every driver at one time or another has had a consumer who you wonder, "Do they really need this meal?" This comes about because numerous times you go there and they're never home. These consumers are supposed to be homebound. I realize there are occasions when something comes up and you just cannot be there. In such cases, please give us a call and let us know.
All of our drivers are wonderful, caring people who do worry when a consumer doesn't answer the door and we haven't been notified that they weren't going to be home.
Our drivers are volunteers who go "above and beyond" their call of duty. I have heard all kinds of stories of things drivers have done for their HDM consumers, not just because they were asked, but because they enjoy helping others. We pick up mail, pick up newspapers, make phone calls, put out the trash, clean up dog dirt, fill bird feeders, change furnace filters, install air conditioners, change light bulbs, etc... just to name a few.
Lastly, we do need more volunteer meal drivers. So if you're a warm, caring person who enjoys doing for others, please contact your local Area Agency on Aging.