DARLENE AND CARDY DELIVERING MEALS SINCE 1971After 40 Years Volunteering – These 2 ladies are still going strong! Driving and delivering meals to clients in their homes in order to maintain a better quality of life, delivering hot nutritious meals to clients in their homes has been the driving goal of Homebound Meals since 1971. In order to do so at an affordable price, the people who deliver it have to be volunteers – especially in this economy.

Darlene Stucky (r) and Cardy McComas (l) are two volunteers who started driving for Homebound Meals here in Fort Wayne when the organization began. In fact, Darlene’s husband was one of the doctors who helped to found the organization.

Once a week Darlene and Cardy get together, drive over to the hospital, pick up the coolers full of hot packs and cold packs and deliver the meals to the clients on their route. The route they drive fluctuates in size but averages 12 stops. Rain, shine, snow – they deliver and have since 1971.

On April 16th, 2012 these 2 ladies will be honored for the Ruby Anniversary with a presentation by the Homebound Meals Board of Directors at the volunteer recognition banquet. The gathering will be in the meeting rooms 1 & 2 at 1:30.

At 80+ years old it’s rare to have this milestone in such a physical effort by volunteers. They are the last of the original volunteers. They have accumulated over 10,000 hours and over 72,000 miles driven in their tenure. A feat that is unlikely to be repeated.

The mission of Homebound Meals is to enhance the quality of health and life of the homebound community by the delivery of hot nutritional meals and the visits of the volunteer drivers. HBM has delivered hot nutritional meals in Fort Wayne since 1971. The meals are delivered to clients who due to age, illness or disability are unable to prepare their own meals.

The nutritional staffs of the Rehabilitation Hospital at Lutheran, St. Joseph Hospital, Parkview Behavioral Health, and Canterbury Nursing & Rehabilitation prepare the meals. Volunteer drivers use their personal vehicles and gas to deliver the meals for 15 different routes.

Clients who are unable to pay the full cost of the meals receive meals in our subsidy program. This condition is strictly on the rise in our community. HBM determined the rate that clients pay for the subsidized meal is $2. Some clients have qualified to pay as little as $1 when needed.

During the 2011-2012 fiscal year thus far, HBM delivered 31,049 meals to 349 different clients. Subsidies were awarded in this timeframe to 120 different clients for $36,822.85. The volunteer drivers drove 41,816 miles donating 7,158 hours to deliver the meals using their own car and gas. If reimbursed at the government rate for gas, the cost of mileage for HBM would have been $23,208.05.

HBM is the only program in Fort Wayne to deliver to clients under 62 years, to offer a specialize diet for various medical conditions, to use volunteer drivers to deliver meals, to have meals prepared fresh every day, and to deliver 5 days a week.

Specialized meals are commonly part of a comprehensive health plan. Often a client would be unable to return home from the hospital or nursing home without the meals service.

In addition to meals being delivered 5 days a week, the drivers also are able to give a safety check on the clients. On an almost daily basis we are placing phone calls to loved ones in reference to the well being of our clients.

There will always be a need in the community for the delivery of meals to the homebound. Their clients change weekly. Many are able to maintain a quality of life in their own homes with improved health. Some however, enter assisted living, nursing homes or unfortunately pass away. The senior community will continue to increase with the aging of the baby boomers.

Homebound Meals is also seeing an increase in younger low functioning individuals who are able to maintain independence with their service. HBM is an independent program which does not receive governmental funding. All funds must be raised through fundraising and grant writing.