Meals on Wheels: providing more than just food for the community

Posted at 4:47 PM, Mar 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-16 18:47:16-04

HELENA — Meals on Wheels works to deliver food to those in need throughout the community, but their services extend beyond just supplying seniors with meals.

“As you get older, you find you are restricted in some of the things you used to do without thinking,” says Meals on Wheel recipient Nancy Mayger.

Nancy Mayger lives alone in her multi-story house built in the 19th century. And mobility and meal making aren’t as easy as they used to be. Mayger had a spill just recently while taking her garbage out.

After living abroad for decades throughout Asia, Mayger finds comfort in her home surrounded by the treasures and trinkets filled with memories collected along the way. This includes a real-life tiger her husband shot and killed in midair when attacked years ago in India.

Mayger says that her life might look a bit different without Meals on Wheels.

“I probably would have to go into an assisted living place,” says Mayger.

Every week, meals are delivered to her door. But, as Mayor Wilmot Collins saw firsthand, that’s not all they do.

“When you get to know that Meals on Wheels is not just about delivering meals, but rather companionship, checking in on our neighbors. It's, I mean, the history and just how much our community volunteers for this program is mind-boggling. So, I'm totally in awe right now,” says Collins.

This month of March, Meals on Wheels celebrates March for Meals commemorating when President Nixon amended the Older Americans Act to include a national nutrition program for seniors 60 years and older which helps fund Meals on Wheels.

Meals on Wheels delivers so much more than food. They provide community, a way for the volunteers to check in on seniors and ensure they are safe.

“When they don't see me from outside through the windows, they'll call,” says Mayger.

As for that treacherous trip to the garbage can, Amy Anderson, Senior Nutrition Volunteer Coordinator at RMDC, says she plans to see to it that volunteers carry out Mayger’s trash from now on.

“Meals on Wheels volunteers and the staff that man the phones at Rocky, we are their connection to the Helena community. And we are a physical connection and honestly a friend. So, for many people that is a lifeline,” says Anderson.