02/19/04 — Calypso homebound meals

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Calypso homebound meals

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on February 19, 2004 2:00 PM

CALYPSO -- Meals on Wheels will be rolling toward Calypso soon.

The town is about five volunteers away from having its own route of food deliveries to its home-bound residents. The Duplin County Services for the Aged delivers meals now on seven routes throughout the county and plans to add another route to Calypso.

But the venture requires 22 volunteers, one person delivering meals one day a month with two alternates to fill in when someone can't go.

A group has been meeting every Wednesday with Liz Davis from the Duplin County Services for the Aged and Rosemary Batts, a deputy at the Duplin County Sheriff's Satellite Office. The group has contacted several of Calypso's eight churches.

Frances Parks, a member of the group, says everybody at the churches they have talked to have been very receptive to the idea.

Peace Baptist Church at 309 E. Church St. in Calypso responded directly, and Deborah Kornegay, a member from Calypso Presbyterian at 116 S. West Center St., said people in her church are interested in volunteering. Altogether, about 17 people from these two churches and the First Baptist Church at 403 E. Albritton St. have said they want to deliver meals.

Several senior citizens from Calypso usually go to the Faison Nutrition Site at the Community Building for a 50-cent meal, and they tell Mrs. Parks they would go more often if they had one in their own town. But the Faison building isn't large enough to take in all that would come from Calypso, she said, and some of the people who live in Calypso are bed-ridden and can't even get to the nutrition site in Faison.

"Our volunteers would go to the nutrition site to pick up what looks like a suitcase, with one side for hot food and the other side for cold," she said. "They'd deliver the food and return the suitcase to Faison."

Duplin County is unique in that the Services for the Aged cooks its own meals, she said. Most county agencies of its kind have their food catered. Duplin cooks and delivers around 225 to 275 meals a day to its five nutrition sites and its seven homebound routes.

The Calypso route would add about a half-dozen meals to that total, according to those residents who have told the group they're interested in receiving meals at their homes.

The food has to be hot when it's delivered. You pick up the "suitcase" at 11:45 a.m. from the Faison Nutrition Site and have an hour to get them to the homes.

"A lot of people do it on their lunch hour from work," said Mrs. Parks. "They said they can train us in one night. We're smart in Calypso."

The group has chosen Rosemary Batts at the Duplin County Sheriff's Satellite Office in Calypso as the person to call if you want to volunteer.

Duplin Sheriff Blake Wallace said his office "wholeheartedly supports the town of Calypso's meals on wheels to the homebound in any way we can."

The deputy plans to contact family members or go out to see what the problem is if a driver goes to a residence and can't get the person to come to the door.

Some elderly people who don't get around well have told her they're not interested in receiving the meals in their homes. But she feels they will change their minds after a staff person comes to see them and explains the program to them.

When the program gets rolling in Calypso, Ms. Bass would be the person you call if you can't make it on your day to deliver. She can be reached at 635-2009 and will contact the Service for the Aged, and the agency will find someone to cover for you.

To reach the Service for the Aged directly, call 910-296-2140 and ask for Liz Davis. She is secretary to the director, Walter Brown.

Brown is encouraging Ms. Davis to meet with the group, and she's doing the same thing in Cedar Fork and Magnolia. He says he hopes that by providing the meals to the homes, he can help them avoid having to go to an institution to live.

Ms. Davis says she's sure that, once the route is established and people see the good that is being done, more will want to volunteer to deliver the meals.

"Most of our volunteers are seniors. They're retired people," she said. "But we don't have an age limit. If you have a driver's license, you can volunteer."