Two knee replacements sidelined Dormont Mayor Thomas Lloyd’s participation in the Meals on Wheels program for a time, but he was back at it Wednesday.
“I used to be a regular, and then I had my knees replaced. I gave it up for years, then the last few years, the Lutheran (Service) Society has done Mayors for Meals” and he's resumed participating, Lloyd said as he carried a bin of meals in brown paper bags to his car to deliver to 18 Dormont and Beechview residents.
Lloyd drove and Barb Hess, a St. Pamphilus parishioner and Meals on Wheels volunteer, took the meals to the clients. St. Pamphilus is the distribution center for the area.
Mayors for Meals day is to educate community leaders about Meals on Wheels and the need for volunteers, said Amy Dukes, director of senior social services for Lutheran Service Society.
“This is our third year participating in the Mayors on Wheels event. We have more than 20 mayors and officials participating in 17 locations" in the Pittsburgh area, she said.
Lutheran Services Society has 39 Meals on Wheels locations in western Pennsylvania. It serves about 80 people in Dormont and Beechview each day about 2,000 people each day across the region, according to Leslie Montgomery, directory of volunteer services.
Springboard Kitchens, a program that provides job training to people with employment barriers such as homelessness, developmental disabilities or criminal backgrounds, prepare the meals, Dukes said.
Wednesday’s meals included a sandwich and cottage cheese for lunch and pepper steak, mashed potatoes and tapioca pudding for dinner.
Dave Phillips, site coordinator Meals on Wheels at St. Pamphilus, said volunteers are greatly needed.
“A lot of people we have here are getting older. They’ve been doing it, some of them, for 30 years. And they’re getting tired,” he said. “I’m not going to tell anybody we can’t use you anymore because you’re too old (but) we can use any volunteer we can get."
“It’s a program run on caring,” he said. “The key thing that keeps us going is the volunteers.”
Often, Phillips said, the volunteers may be a client’s only contact with the outside world.
Meals On Wheels generally serves clients 60 and over, many of whom cannot shop or prepare meals for themselves. Volunteers are also trained to check on client wellbeing.
Clients are asked to pay $20 a week, but the agency will work with those who can't afford that.
If interested in volunteering with Meals on Wheels, call 412-366-9490, or visit www.lsswpa.org.