Everyday at 5 a.m., the Meals on Wheels commissary staff and several volunteers prepare meals for the homebound in Rockland County. About 1,200 meals are produced every weekday year round.
This year, to give back to the dedicated staff and volunteers, one Meals on Wheels recipient, Libby Deutsch, wanted to say ‘thank you’ by knitting them a gift.
She knitted 10 sets of winter hats and scarves by hand and they were presented to staff and volunteers on Wednesday morning. Deutsch, 86, has been a recipient of Meals on Wheels for nine years.
“We have a very dedicated commissary staff. She said she wanted to thank the people who work in the commissary, who prepare her meals everyday and accommodate her dietary needs,” said Marianne Colucci, Director of Food Service and Nutrition. "She has arthritis, but still had the wherewithal to do this.”
“They are the heart of Meals on Wheels,” said Meals on Wheels President and CEO Barbara Kohlhausen “Without them, we wouldn’t be here.”
The hats and scarves came in a variety of colors, from pinks, browns and blues.
“It’s very lovely. I’ve been doing this (cooking these meals) for her for a long time and it’s good to know it’s appreciated,” said Head Chef Pierre Richard Opont. “It feels very good, down to my heart. Give her all of our blessings.”
“(The hat and scarf) are very nice. I’m very happy about this,” said Assistant Chef Jorel Lauture.
During the holiday season, many more volunteers and elected officials step up to help out, such as this previous Thanksgiving.
However, Meals on Wheels always welcomes volunteer drivers to deliver meals year round. They deliver hot and cold meals Monday – Friday, even if it’s a holiday. Frozen meals are delivered on Fridays for the weekends.
“They come in no matter the weather, even during Hurricane Sandy,” said Colucci. “We have a very good staff, who have been here for a long time. They give back a great deal.”
“The meals for the senior centers and adult day care center are produced here too,” said Stan Schwarz, a Meals on Wheels board member. “In addition to the homebound meals everybody’s very familiar with, we also five senior centers that we operate around the county and we have the Bobbie Lewis Adult Day Care Center here in Nanuet that caters to the need of people who have Alzheimer’s and other disorders.”