HOLYOKE — In celebration of the 18th annual March for Meals, a month-long, nationwide celebration of Meals on Wheels and the vulnerable seniors who rely on the vital service to remain independent at home, WestMass ElderCare (WMEC) recently hosted local leaders and congressional aides at a March for Meals open house at its Meals on Wheels kitchen.
Among the guests who attended were Koby Garder-Levine, aide to U.S. Rep. James McGovern; Jeanne Ahern, aide to U.S. Rep. Richard Neal; and Derek Debarge, chairman of the Ludlow Board of Selectmen.
After taking a tour of the kitchen where WMEC heats and sends out more than 1,200 daily meals to area seniors, Garder-Levine, Ahern, and Debarge were each paired with a Meals on Wheels driver and then headed out to deliver lunch to elders in their districts.
Ahern, who delivered meals to Neal’s constituents in Chicopee, said she learned a lot working with WMEC driver Samuel Aquino. “Sam is the perfect Meals on Wheels driver. The people were so appreciative of the meal we brought, and they just beamed when they saw Sam coming. I can’t say enough good things about this experience and this program.”
Added Roseann Martoccia, WMEC executive director, “the nutrition services we provide are a lifeline for seniors, and the need is rapidly increasing. Our Meals on Wheels program delivers so much more than just a hot meal. Our drivers are sometimes the only person a senior will see all day, so this program serves an important safety and social function as well.”