New River Valley Agency on Aging’s Home Delivered Meals Program Ensures Nutritious foods for Homebound Seniors in the New River Valley
The NRV Agency on Aging’s Home Delivered Meals program provides nutritionally balanced meal to persons who are confined to their home due to health problems, have difficulty preparing meals, and have no one on a regular basis to prepare meals.
Established in 1975, The Home Delivered Meals program serves the counties of Montgomery, Floyd, Giles, and Pulaski, the towns of Blacksburg, Christiansburg, and Pulaski, and Radford City. Recipients receive a hot meal Monday through Friday. Clients also receive shelf-stable meals as supplemental food during holidays and inclement weather. In service areas that are more remote, frozen meals are delivered in packs of 10 per person. Clients also receive seasonal fresh vegetables donated by Red Sun Farms in Pulaski County.
The program currently employs a Nutrition Program Director, Gretchen Lawson, and 11 others who help coordinate client meals, and those who make direct deliveries. There are also multiple volunteers who help bag vegetables and provide check-in calls to clients. There is an ancillary benefit to having drivers do door delivery, and volunteers making personal calls. According to Tina King, NRV Agency on Aging Executive Director, “Not only do home delivered meals provide nutritious foods that impact the health and well-being of those who receive them, the social contacts upon delivery of the meals and the calls made by the volunteers provide a great checking system as well. Many of those receiving meals don’t see or hear from anyone, or from just a few people regularly. They look forward to talking with our delivery drivers and callers. Often the drivers and volunteer callers have alerted us if there seems to be something wrong (i.e. client isn’t feeling well) and we have followed up to help the individual and averted an emergency or a major problem.”
This service is available to residents 60 years and older. For persons having income at the poverty level, there is no charge for meals. Persons having income over the poverty level pay on a sliding scale fee after deductions are given for medical expenses.
The past few years have had a real impact on this program. When the pandemic hit and more seniors were confined, the number of requests for home delivered meals nearly doubled. In addition, prices for hot meals have increased by $1.25 over the last two years. Frozen and shelf-stable meals have increased by $1 per meal. This program is dependent on donations to supplement a limited amount of government funding in order to meet the needs and avoid having to put older adults on a waiting list to receive meals.
The New River Valley Agency on Aging is holding an event on Thursday, May 25th, at Nesselrod on the New, from 6-9 p.m., to raise funds for Home Delivered Meals. Dubbed “Grass & Grill”, this event will have a catered dinner provided by Soul Delish, live music by the Leslie Brooks and Al Coffey Duo, and a silent auction with items donated from local businesses such as Back Country, Kristina Rose Photography, Draper Mercantile and New River’s Edge. The event is sponsored by Freedom First Credit Union, with dinner sponsored by Lewis Gale Montgomery and Lewis Gale Pulaski. Beverages provided by AEP and entertainment provided by Citizens Cooperative. To learn more, purchase tickets, bid on an auction item or donate, go to nrvaoa.org, or call 540-980-7720.