Pipestone Meals on Wheels Volunteers in Short Supply

Friday, December 13, 2019

Verne Long, 94, Meals on Wheels recipient and former volunteer with the programDonna Johnson, 80, waited in the lobby last Thursday to collect the lunchtime Meals on Wheels delivery for herself and three others who live at Storybrook Apartments in Pipestone.

Linda Erickson, the volunteer driver that day, helped Johnson load her walker so Johnson could deliver to her friends the containers of beef stroganoff, buttered noodles, seasoned broccoli, cinnamon pears, bread and milk.

Johnson had been receiving delivery of the hot meals ever since she broke her arm about two or three years ago and couldn’t cook anymore. When asked how important the meals were to her, she said, “very important,” before quickly adding, “I enjoy having her come.”

Then she turned to Erickson and said, “We enjoy you.”

The nutrition concept is paired with a friendly visit and safety check by a volunteer who drops off the meal.

“A lot of the children are absentee, they live out of town, and their parents still live in town,” said Louie Lanie, the volunteer who runs the Pipestone service. “They count on us to be able to deliver meals to them and give them a daily check.”

It’s this daily contact with people like Erickson that each of the meal recipients said they enjoyed.

“I love to have them come and make an appearance,” said Dorene Relf, 72. “Just to know someone is coming. She’s a sweetheart,” she said, before turning to Erickson and saying it again directly to her. “I look forward to you coming.”

Though the personal contact is only one part of the LSS program, it’s the part in Pipestone that’s sorely lacking. The LSS Meals on Wheels program, which operates in 163 Minnesota communities within 39 Minnesota counties, has only one corporate volunteer partner in Pipestone in Erickson’s employer, First Farmers and Merchants Bank. No other company, church or civic organization volunteers, a situation that’s not typical in the nine-county LSS Meals on Wheels region that’s overseen by Sarah Anderson, LSS meals regional manager.

Read more at the Pipestone Star. 

To learn more about volunteering with LSS Meals on Wheels, please call 800.488.4146 or visit our Meals on Wheels web page