06/17/10 — Meals on Wheels adds route in Mount Olive

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Meals on Wheels adds route in Mount Olive

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on June 17, 2010 1:46 PM

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Troy Herring

Debbie Jones, left, head of customer service at Mt. Olive Pickle Co. and a Meals on Wheels volunteer, enjoys a chat with Meals on Wheels participant Velma Jones on Tuesday. The program has expanded in the Mount Olive area.

MOUNT OLIVE -- A new Meals on Wheels route has been added in Mount Olive, through $25,000 in United Way funding.

This will be the third route for that area, but fulfills a long-time need for services in that part of the county, said Brownie Doss, Meals on Wheels director.

"We have had two routes in Mount Olive for years, but we have maxed them out all the time and there has been a long waiting list there," she said. "This particular area -- Northpoint, Woodridge, several apartments that have a lot of seniors in them, the north part of Mount Olive -- we have been needing to start routes there for years.

"(Mount Olive) is where the longest waiting list was in one area and that has been for several years."

Funding was the main drawback for the expansion.

But then the application for United Way funds was granted.

This is the first Meals on Wheels route added in probably seven or eight years, Ms. Doss said.

"We constantly have people coming on, but they're on existing routes," she said.

The elderly population is growing rapidly, she added, with the 85-plus segment being the largest growing group.

Statistically nationwide, one in four elderly people is malnourished. So programs such as the WAGES Nutrition Program and the United Way can make a difference in improving the health of its senior residents, officials said.

The new route, which began Monday, will provide meals for 20 people each week.

"We are real excited about getting another route," Ms. Doss said. "This new route had 12 people on it to begin with, but we have more referrals since we did the initial assessment."

Steve Parr, executive director of United Way in Wayne County, paid a visit to the nutrition site in Mount Olive on Tuesday to make the funding announcement official.

"The Meals on Wheels program provides a vital service to homebound individuals in Wayne County and to the Mount Olive community, and this increased funding enables WAGES to increase their capacity in delivering those critical services," he said.

Bob Logan, United Way chairman, made note of the fact that funding for the new route was provided despite the fact that last year's campaign reached only 90 percent of its goal.

"We are committed to focusing our resources in key areas to make a measurable difference in Wayne County," he said. "Our priorities are based on the results of our community needs assessment, and adding this Meals on Wheels route clearly addresses one of the needs we identified in the area of community enhancement.

"This effort enables more elderly and disabled residents in the Mount Olive area to remain in their homes and to continue to live independently."