Valle: Volunteers crucial to York Township 'Meals on Wheels'

Published: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 3:15 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 3:53 p.m. CDT

On March 20, it once again was my honor and privilege to participate with the DuPage Senior Citizens Council in "Mayors for Meals." The Meals on Wheels Association of America initiated this national campaign to raise awareness of senior hunger and to encourage action on the part of local communities.

On "Mayors for Meals" Day, local mayors and other local officials accompany DSCC staff and volunteers on meal deliveries to homebound seniors. Last year, nearly 20 civic leaders in DuPage County participated in the event and more are expected to participate this year. During a time when funding for social services is being reduced, DSCC hopes to raise community awareness of the threat of senior hunger.

York Township is a leader in the fight against senior hunger. We operate our extensive senior nutrition program in conjunction with the DuPage Senior Citizens Council, a non-profit agency. We employ a staff of one nutritionist, two cooks and one kitchen helper. The council also provides two staff people to oversee the dining center activities and meal distribution.

Last year, we served more than 54,000 meals, including those served in our senior dining center and home-delivered hot meals, frozen meals and cold-sack lunches — otherwise known as "Meals on Wheels" delivered by volunteers to homebound seniors throughout York Township.

Lunchtime dining center seniors enjoy the camaraderie of fellow seniors, daily bingo games, dance parties and occasional guest speakers. Homebound seniors enjoy nutritious meals they might not otherwise receive without our program.

It is important to mention that this program would not be possible without the assistance of about 16 volunteers per day. That would include a dozen drivers carrying "Meals on Wheels," three people working the steamtable and one or two kitchen helpers. Many volunteers are involved, some working only one or two days per week.

Anyone who is interested in being a part of this worthy group would be most welcome. Just call the dining center at 630-620-2421 and ask how you can volunteer.

John Valle is the supervisor for York Township, which serves Elmhurst, Lombard, Oak Brook, Oakbrook Terrace, Villa Park and sections of Downers Grove, Glen Ellyn, Hinsdale and Westmont.

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