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History of Meals on Wheels

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Looking Back at 50 Years of Meals on Wheels

As the Meals on Wheels program celebrates 50 years we take a look back at the group of individuals who helped found this program at Noyes Hospital.  It began with Jean Basta who was the Social Worker at the time at Dansville Hospital, located on lower Main Street. As Social Worker she was aware that some of the elderly could not provide meals for themselves.  At the time, Dr. Whitford’s wife led the Friends in Service Here (FISH) volunteer group.  This group offered to cook and deliver the meals.   Verna Apel was president of the Hospital Auxiliary.  The Auxiliary members assisted the FISH volunteers and also the purchased china dishes and real silverware on which the meals would be delivered.  Needing a way to carry the meals, Mr. Herbert Gross, an employee in the Engineering department at the hospital, fabricated small totes which enabled the volunteers to carry more than one meal at a time.  Ms. Basta secured a $1,000.00 grant to help with costs and the program was born.

As time went on the FISH volunteers evolved into Meals on Wheels (MOW)  which now, 50 years later has 28 dedicated volunteers that deliver meals which are still made at the hospital but instead of china they are packaged in recycled paper containers which are sealed in cellophane.  The meals are carried in vinyl totes that are plugged into the car adapter to assure proper temperature control.

Yes, there have been a few changes over the years but the message still goes out to the community that the Noyes MOW program is dedicated to help those in need and will deliver to anyone in a 5-6 mile radius of the hospital.

“To accomplish this, we need more volunteers to join the team” states Ms. Johnsen, volunteer coordinator.  “It takes about an hour out of the day to deliver the meals.” If you would like to volunteer some time and join this exceptional MOW Team, please call Ms. Johnsen at 335-4355

Becky Bowen, Manager of Guest Relations at Noyes, oversees the preparation and includes a hot meal and evening snack for each person, every day.   If you have a loved one or know of someone who would benefit from a hot meal, please call Ms. Bowen at 335-4253.

The goal is to keep the MOW Program going and growing.  We hope to hear from you!

Media Contact

Public Relations Department

(585) 275-3676

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