Meals On Wheels Holds Annual Reception For Volunteers

Forty-four years after its inception, Meals on Wheels of Jamestown is still going strong, thanks to the volunteers who make its work possible.

Tuesday afternoon, the organization held its annual volunteer recognition reception and meeting at the Jamestown Gateway Train Station.

“We have a longstanding tradition at Meals on Wheels, and we don’t have a lot of chances to thank the people that deliver these meals for us, so we take this time every year to thank them, provide them a good meal and let them know about the things in the community that they can take advantage of,” said Barrie Yochim, executive director. “In the past, we’ve been to places like the Roger Tory Peterson Institute, the Lucy-Desi Center, and this year it only seemed natural that we should have it here at the train station.”

According to Yochim, there are more than 100 volunteers that work to deliver meals for the program. Every day of the week, there are nine volunteer routes that are covered, requiring 45-50 hours of work to do so.

“Whether the volunteers are just delivering within their own building or covering a route that might be 15 miles long, we have a little bit of everything,” said Yochim.

Every day Meals on Wheels delivers roughly 475 meals in central and southern Chautauqua County, and for many residents, this is not only a hot meal, but also a safety check.

“The volunteers can tell if something isn’t quite right, and they have found clients in distress and called 911 to help them,” said Yochim. “We tell our volunteers that without us, some of these people wouldn’t have anyone coming to see them.”

According to Nancy Lahnen, president of the board of directors, Meals on Wheels of Jamestown chose the Jamestown Gateway Train Station to hold its volunteer recognition reception and annual meeting to say “thank you,” and help promote this newly renovated train station for future community use.

“We recognize our volunteers for their dedication and time delivering meals to senior citizens and the homebound of our community,” said Lahnen. “It’s their way of giving back to so many who worked hard all their lives and made sacrifices for others. And, in some form or another, many of those folks may have worked or helped build our historical local railways.”

Following the annual meeting and volunteer recognition, keynote speaker Ken Springirth gave a presentation regarding the history of railroads. Springirth is the author of “Remembering the Erie Lackawanna Railroad.”

For more information about Meals on Wheels, visit mowjamestown.org or call 488-9119.