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Blizzard boxes assembled for delivery to the homebound

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Photo submitted Della Darnall, Senior CommUnity Meals office manager, and Al Shonk, SCM director, prepare boxes for delivery in 2015.

Senior CommUnity Meals, a program of Volunteers of America, is assembling emergency "blizzard boxes" to distribute to their homebound older adult clients beginning late November. The emergency food boxes will contain enough food for five meals in the event a storm hits the Montrose, Delta and San Miguel counties service areas.

"Every year we have provided these boxes during the harsh winter months in the event we were not able to deliver or otherwise provide meals at the meal sites due to severe weather conditions," said Al Shonk, Senior Comm-

Unity Meals director. "The boxes serve as a reassurance to our home bound clients that they will not go hungry in a storm."

Non-perishable items like individual cans of chili, spaghetti, ravioli, tuna, fruit cups, juice boxes, packs of peanuts, sunflower seeds and crackers are some of the items included in the boxes.

Shonk said there is a simple process to qualify for the program. "Individuals can qualify for the boxes if they are age sixty or older and are part of the Meals on Wheels program, through Volunteers of America - Senior CommUnity Meals."

During the application process, VOA or options counselors at Region 10 conduct an assessment in the home or over the phone to determine if the individual qualifies for home delivered meals.

"There are several factors we assess for. Some people that are home bound but need assistance with shopping or getting to the grocery store may still qualify," Shonk said.

Over the past year, approximately 75,000 hot and frozen meals have been provided through Senior CommUnity Meals to the senior citizens of Delta, Montrose and San Miguel counties.

"We do this to show our homebound older adults how much we care about them. This project has received numerous donations from very generous businesses and individuals in our area over past years. We are extremely grateful for their support and could not do this without them," Shonk said.

The program serves lunches at seven community meal sites from Olathe to Paonia to Norwood and Nucla and delivers meals to seniors' homes utilizing a network of staff and volunteers covering approximately 4,600 square miles.

Senior CommUnity Meals (SCM) is principally funded by the Region 10 Area Agency on Aging.

For more information on Senior Comm-

Unity Meals or to make a donation to support the blizzard boxes project, visit www.seniorcommunitymeals.org and click the red donate button at the top of the page or call 970-835-2670. Donations can be mailed to SCM, 11407 Hwy 65, Eckert, CO 81418.

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