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Garretson business helps revive Meals on Wheels program

Published: Jan. 5, 2021 at 6:02 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -The pandemic is putting a strain on a lot of people, including those in high-risk populations. One organization is starting back up in Garretson, aimed at addressing hunger and isolation among senior citizens.

It’s been years since Garretson has had a Meals on Wheels program. It ended due to a lack of interest and volunteers. But now the program is back up and running thanks to the community and the O So Good restaurant.

Tuesday through Saturday Chef Omar Thornton cooks food for the Meals on Wheels program.

“You know I’m a restaurant and I love the heck out of seniors,” said Thornton.

Meals On Wheels serves food to seniors, generally 60 or older whose diminished mobility makes it hard to shop for food, and prepare meals.

The program started back up after Rebecca Behnke, Nutrition Director for Active Generations visited Garretson to see if there was a need for the program.

“That day there was probably 30 people that showed up that wanted to hear about the program,” said Behnke.

So community members stepped up to help resurrect Meals on Wheels.

“What really helps us out and really helps this program keep going though, are going to be the volunteers. Not only the volunteers that help with the paperwork because like I said there are tons of that, but volunteers that are willing to come and do the deliveries for us. I know that became an issue when it was here before,” said Thornton.

Although it’s hard work Thornton says it’s worth it.

“Just some of the stories of just their eyes lighting up from these seniors...And you realize they haven’t been visited, that’s the first visitor they had that day, you know. So being able to have that short even if it’s just you know two minutes of talking really means a lot to them,” said Thornton.

Tom Willems, a 92-year-old veteran uses the service.

“The apartment here is kind of unique in the fact that it is basically just widows and widowers and you know if you could buy a meal at a reasonable price and have it delivered to your door that’s quite a thing, especially in the wintertime. You don’t have to go outside. You don’t have to worry about slipping and falling,” said Willems.

A warm embrace from the community, that seems oh so good.

If you are interested in volunteering for Meals on Wheels in your community click here.

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