Delivering meals to seniors not just about the food -

Delivering meals to seniors not just about the food

Delivering meals to people in need is an act of good will that can be rewarding for everyone involved, not just the recipient.

But the work can also go beyond simply feeding the hungry. These visits often serve as a valuable lifeline to seniors who are struggling in other ways.

Meals on Wheels director Claire Shimabukuro delivers meals to seniors twice a month, and over the years, she's seen it all.

"It's about hunger, but more than that, it's about loneliness and dignity and independence," says Shimabukuro.

In some instances, outreach volunteers are finding deplorable conditions in homes because seniors don't have the strength or stamina to clean. Oftentimes, hoarding and filth become issues.

Sometimes, Shimabukuro's visits are the only human connection seniors will have for days.

"The feeling of helplessness and boredom creep in and creep in, and so, what we do is we bring a hot meal, a nutritious meal, but we also bring daily smiles, interaction," says Shimabukuro.

But with an increased cost of living and our seniors living longer, the need keeps growing. 

Outreach workers are finding caregivers don't know who to call for help, and then, they get desperate and wait until there's a crisis.

"Time goes by, until they can literally no longer turn the stove on, and then, they'll call and say, 'Hi, you have to help me!' because, otherwise, I can't cook another day. I'm going to starve,'" says Shimabukuro.

She says just a casual check on an older neighbor can make a big difference, in not only helping, but perhaps saving, a senior.

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