Tulsa's Meals On Wheels seeking volunteers

Tuesday, February 8th 2005, 9:52 am
By: News On 6

Alma Thompson doesn't get around as well as she used to. So she counts on the Meals on Wheels program to bring her food during the week.

Unfortunately, Tulsa's Meals on Wheels isn't getting around as well as it used to either. If they can't find more volunteers for a north Tulsa Neighborhood, they're going to have to cut back.

News on 6 reporter Steve Berg shows us why.

At age 91, Alma Thompson gets around exceptionally well. "We've got a little bit of everything up in here." Even so, she realized she needed a little help a couple of years ago after an illness. "I knew that I wouldn't be able to prepare my meals and I had heard about Meals on Wheels."

A volunteer brings her a hot meal every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and then frozen ones to tide her over. "We have chicken, okra, and carrots there." But a shortage of volunteers means Meals on Wheels will have to put on the brakes every other Friday in Alma's neighborhood in Heritage Hills just north of downtown.

Like a lot of areas in towns, Meals on Wheels counts on churches and other groups to get their volunteers, but in this area of town, they have smaller churches and fewer churches to choose from.

“Many of these folks really depend on the contact from a volunteer." Meals on Wheels director Dan Rabovsky says the volunteers don't just bring meals, but also a smile. "In some cases, our volunteer is the only human being they'll see that day. And just a smile from another person, and somebody who's really interested in you can make the difference in the day that a person has."

Alma Thompson: "They're very friendly and nice." The cutbacks will mean more frozen meals instead of hot ones. And fewer visits mean they can't be as certain the person is eating like they should. “You have to have a well-balance diet to survive and if you don't get it, well you wouldn't last too long."

Alma isn't too worried for herself. But she does say the program is the difference between staying in her own home, or going to a nursing home.

If you'd like to help out in the Heritage Hills area, you're asked to call Meals on Wheels. Their number is 627-4103.