Escalon’s senior meal program needs more people – both to help run the program and to eat the food.
Coordinator Sandy Rigg said attendance has dropped off and organizers are hoping more people will take advantage of the low cost, nutritious meals, offered Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Escalon Community Center.
Rigg and Judy Rigby share the duties in making sure the meals are served, with Rigg overseeing the site on Tuesdays and Rigby on Thursdays. Bateman Senior Meals is now providing the lunches, and Rigg said they are balanced and tasty.
She also is looking for someone to take over her role as program coordinator and work the Tuesday meals.
“They have improved the food service and we get 14 meals a week,” Rigg said of providing for the seniors at the local site.
The Meals on Wheels program delivers to a number of elderly and shut-ins, with those meals going out on Tuesdays, delivering five frozen meals for recipients at a time. They put them in the freezer and heat them up as needed throughout the week, Rigg explained. Eight people are currently on the delivery list and more could be added if necessary. Four volunteer drivers help deliver the meals.
Rigg said especially with the colder weather coming, she wants to see more seniors take advantage of the service by coming in to eat at the Community Center.
“Those that do come just enjoy it so much,” she said, hoping to encourage higher attendance. “It’s just a waste when there’s not many people.”
She said the exercise class offered at the Community Center is also put on just prior to the meals (10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays), so seniors can exercise, then enjoy good food and socializing.
Meals for the remainder of the month have already been scheduled and Rigg said there’s no set price; seniors are just asked to give a donation. The goal is to make sure they are provided with a healthy lunch.
A sampling of the menu for this month includes: pasta marinara with meatballs as the main dish for Thursday, Oct. 16; bratwurst on Oct. 21, Chicken Caesar salad for Oct. 23; chicken corn chowder on Oct. 28 and roasted pork with apple cider sauce on Oct. 30. Each meal also includes side dishes, from potatoes to salad to fruit and vegetables. Milk is included with every meal and juice is also sometimes offered.
“Right now we only have five or six people coming regularly,” Rigg said. “We don’t want to lose the program.”
Rigg added that, along with the people they want to see come eat, she does want someone to take over her role as program coordinator, including the Meals on Wheels. It only takes a few hours each week, she said, but she is at a point where she has done it the last few years and would like time to travel with her husband.
Anyone interested in participating in the meals program must be 62 years of age. Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer must be 55 years of age, Rigg said. “Please call 209-838-2770 if you are interested, or come by the community center on Tuesday or Thursday between 9 a.m. and noon,” Rigg said.