Meals program through local center meets sustenance needs of seniors plus fills craving for visits

To many of us, having a hot meal is just a normal part of the day. But for some senior citizens who may live alone and on a fixed income, it can mean something much more. 

On Tuesday, seniors throughout Boyle County received a hot meal delivered from the Meals on Wheels program through Fifty-Five and Alive — a senior citizen center in the Southland Shopping Center on Hustonville Road. 

“A lot of them, we’re the only person they see in a day,” said Kenny Griffith, one of the drivers for the center. 

“It means a whole lot, but it means a lot more with him. He’s a personable person,” said Rosie Sinkhorn, a senior getting a meal delivered, about Griffith. “He’s a bright spot on my day.”

March is National Nutrition Month. It’s also March for Meals month, to raise awareness of the need to make nutritious meals available to seniors, said Rita Wash, director of Fifty-Five and Alive. The center averages deliveries to about 73 people a week, she said. 

Some participants receive hot meals every day, while some receive a hot meal only a few days a week and are supplemented with frozen meals they can heat up on other days. 

Hot meals are also provided at the center, which is next to Dollar General, for 10-14 participants on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and breakfast boxes for the same group on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Kendra Peek/kendra.peek@amnews.com
Perryville Mayor Anne Sleet, left, speaks with Barbara Feistritzer, right. Feistritzer is a Meals on Wheels recipient; Sleet spent Tuesday participating in handing out the meals and visiting the recipients.

Perryville Mayor Anne Sleet joined Griffith on Tuesday. Wash said she had reached out to other elected officials, but Sleet was the only one who could come along.

“It’s a much-needed program,” said Sleet. “I think it’s a good program. I can give up an hour, two hours of my time.”

Sleet entered some of the homes with Griffith, meeting recipients of the food.

“It means a lot,” said Patsy Cochran. “I get one hot meal a day — I wouldn’t cook that much myself, but I don’t waste it. I appreciate it.”

Barbara Feistritzer said it helps her stretch her budget a little farther, especially during the “five-week months.”

“It helps me out on my groceries — that’s one meal that I’ve got, fixed,” she said. “This helps a lot.”

A neighbor and fellow recipient, Fern McCormack, said while she does cook occasionally, having the meal delivered helps quite a bit, and she enjoys the meals and the visit with Griffith. 

Lorene Wilson and Margaret Brock, two others who received meals, also say it’s a great program, they love the meals and really enjoy the visits from Griffith as he makes his deliveries. 

Kendra Peek/kendra.peek@amnews.com
Perryville Mayor Anne Sleet, left, and Fifty-five and Alive Driver Kenny Griffth, right, speaks with Barbara Feistritzer, center. Feistritzer is a Meals on Wheels recipient; Sleet spent Tuesday participating in handing out the meals and visiting the recipients.

Griffith has been driving for the center for about four months and said he really enjoys the work.

“I think the world of all of them,” Griffith said. “They are wonderful people.”

The center wants to help the seniors who participate maintain their independence and remain at home, if they so desire.

“The goal is to keep them fed,” Welsh said. 

SO YOU KNOW

• To qualify for the Meals on Wheels program, Wash said, people who are interested must contact 2-1-1, through the United Way, and request the service. An assessment will be done of the person to determine if they are in need.

• To learn more about Fifty-Five and Alive, at 975 Hustonville Road (Southland Shopping Center), Suite 23, seniors may come in without an appointment and fill out paperwork. All seniors 60 and older are eligible to use the center. For more information, call (859) 236-3462. 

Kendra Peek/kendra.peek@amnews.com
Perryville Mayor Anne Sleet, left, speaks with Rosie Sinkhorn, right, of Junction City. Sinkhorn is a Meals on Wheels recipient; Sleet spent Tuesday participating in handing out the meals and visiting the recipients.

Kendra Peek/kendra.peek@amnews.com
Perryville Mayor Anne Sleet, left, and Fifty-five and Alive Driver Kenny Griffth, right, spent Tuesday participating in handing out meals and visiting the recipients.

Follow Kendra Peek on Twitter, @knpeek.