The wheels are turning again for Meals on Wheels.
After nearly a 17-year hiatus, the meal delivery program for the elderly and disabled was resumed by the city and La Palma Intercommunity Hospital in February.
And Tom Davies, left slightly paralyzed after recent brain surgery, is among those who are glad to see the program again. He’s one of five clients La Palma’s Meals on Wheels caters to Monday through Friday.
On Wednesday afternoon, Meals on Wheels volunteers Joe Staunton and Diane Danner served up a hot plate of Spanish rice, vegetables and biscuits to the Davies kitchen table. As usual, Staunton opened Davies’ milk carton and buttered his wheat bread, which the 76-year-old Davies is unable to do.
“It’s a great idea,” said Davies, a former classical music teacher. “I really appreciate the service.”
When word gets around it’s available again, city officials expect as many as a dozen people to use the service. The program delivers hot, nutritionally sound meals to residents who are unable to prepare them on their own.
While the delivery is free, clients still must pay $2.40 for hot lunches, and $1.20 for a cold sack dinner. The meals are prepared at La Palma Intercommunity Hospital.
“For many of our clients, if it weren’t for Meals on Wheels, they would be eating just TV dinners, and that’s just not healthy,” said Community Services Supervisor Janet L. Cates.
Meals on Wheels in La Palma was canceled in 1977 after a local group could no longer provide volunteer help. Neighboring cities could not absorb La Palma’s cases, either. Three attempts to start the program over the years also failed because of liability issues involving volunteer drivers, Cates said.
But late last year, the City Council agreed to accept liability for volunteer drivers, enabling the program to resume, Cates said. The council also paid for beginning costs, which included insulated boxes for food and office supplies.
Clients aren’t the only ones benefiting.
“I love helping people, and it’s a wonderful program,” said Danner, 51, who is studying opera at Cypress Community College. “I hope when I get older and can’t make my own meals that someone will deliver them to me, too.”
Meals on Wheels is still seeking a few more volunteer drivers and office workers who can work in the afternoon, Cates said.
For more information, call (714) 522-6740.