Volunteers of America and Senior CommUnity Meals (SCM) honored US Bank Delta branch for their past three years of volunteer service delivering hot meals to homebound older adults in Delta who are enrolled in the Meals on Wheels program.
Joe Walker, SCM program director, presented Sharon Lovato, US Bank branch manager, with a plaque and personalized cake made by their talented lead cook, Victor Quezada, at the bank's office on Highway 92 in Delta.
Lovato along with employees Susan Underwood, sales and service manager, Shannon Mansker, teller coordinator, and Shellie Sandburg, personal banker, have alternated delivering meals to homebound, frail older adults in Delta during their lunch hour twice a week for the past three years. SCM estimates US Bank has delivered 2,300 total meals over the past three years.
"Each meal delivery represents a safety check and social interaction. For some recipients, the volunteer drivers are the only people they see during the week," Walker said.
"We are thrilled to present this recognition plaque to US Bank and the volunteer team," Walker said. "We have a great respect for this organization who has given their valuable time to serve our older adults in Delta."
Lovato said, "We love being volunteers for the meals program and have grown very fond of the seniors on our route."
Last year, SCM provided over 15,000 meals to homebound individuals in Delta, Montrose and San Miguel counties. The majority of homebound recipients reside in Delta County, are frail and at the national poverty level.
Walker said, "The senior nutrition program provides savings to the health care system as a whole. Providing proper nutrition to older adults reduces hospital stays, emergency room visits, nursing home use and decreases Medicare reimbursements, all of which save taxpayers money."
The program is in need of volunteer drivers and encourages more businesses to join US Bank in allowing employees the flexibility to deliver meals during working hours.
"Even if a business or individual can only commit to helping for a half hour once per week or once per month, we would be very grateful for their help," Walker said. "We have several delivery routes for which we have no delivery volunteers."
Earlier this year, Alpine Bank Delta branch also began to deliver meals.
"Having the support of Alpine Bank and US Bank has been a blessing. The great aspect of having offices or businesses covering a delivery route is that when an employee is off work or on vacation, others in their office are able to step in and help us continue to get nutritious meals to those we serve," Walker said.
Potential drivers are screened with a background check, which SCM pays for, and are given orientation and training on how to make deliveries. The initial process can take a week or two, after which a volunteer can begin to deliver meals and enhance the well-being of older adults in the community.
The process to begin receiving home delivered meals is simple. Anyone 60 years of age or older and homebound may qualify. Contact the SCM office at 970-874-7661 and the staff will do an assessment over the phone. Most individuals can start to receive meals within 24 to 48 hours of completing the assessment.
There is no cost to receive homebound meals. The program has a suggested donation per meal, but no qualifying individuals are turned away for inability or unwillingness to make a donation. The delivery of meals can be cancelled or put on hold with a 24-hour notice in the event the recipient will be out of the home for any reason. Service can resume with a call to the office.
SCM is supported mainly by Region 10, Area Agency on Aging. Eva Veitch, Community Living Services Director, who oversees the funds given to SCM through the Older Americans Act, was also present to recognize and thank US Bank.
Anyone interested in supporting the nonprofit organization with a donation can mail a check to 350 Stafford Lane, Suite 3511, Delta, CO 81416, or make a secure online donation at www.coloradogives.org/seniorcommunitymeals.