Senior citizens association buys vehicle to deliver meals

Wood County Senior Citizens Association (WCSCA) took possession of a 2019 Subaru Outback it is buying for its Meals On Wheels Program on Wednesday from Lou Thomas Subaru in Parkersburg. Pictured are Meals on Wheels driver Alicia Mascioli, Aeneas Lauderman, WCSCA Board of Directors member Michele Wilson, driver Helen Weaver, WCSCA Board of Directors Chairman Mike Seely, WCSCA nutrition coordinator Nina Oates, WCSCA Board of Directors member Roy Schleicher and Lou Thomas, owner of Lou Thomas Subaru. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

PARKERSBURG — Wood County Senior Citizens Association has a new car to deliver more meals to homebound individuals throughout the county.

Representatives and staff of the senior center were on hand Wednesday at Lou Thomas Subaru in Parkersburg to take possession of the 2019 Subaru Outback.

Wood County Senior Citizens Association Board of Directors Chairman Mike Seely thanked those with the dealership for working with them to purchase this vehicle through the 2018 Subaru Share the Love Event.

”This vehicle will help us with our meal deliveries at the senior center,” he said.

Over the last 10 years, Subaru of America and its participating retailers have donated more than $118 million to help those in need, according to Subaru officials. By the end of this 11th year, Subaru of America and its participating retailers will have donated over $140 million to help those in need through the Share the Love Event, they added.

Meals on Wheels has participated in the Subaru Share the Love Event since its inception in 2008 and has helped to deliver over two million meals to America’s seniors.

Through the Share the Love program people who purchase a Subaru can choose a charity to donate to.

”We are grateful to those who have chosen the Meals on Wheels program,” Seely said. ”That money has come back to this community in the sharing of this new Subaru with the Senior Citizens Center of Wood County.”

The Wood County Senior Citizens Association is purchasing the vehicle from Lou Thomas Subaru under the special Meals on Wheels promotion at a low rate with local, state and federal funds being used for the purchase, at a lower cost than what the car would normally sell for.

”The Outback is necessary for our Meals on Wheels lunch program which delivers a hot lunch to homebound seniors,” Seely said. ”This will be able to increase the number of meals we are able to deliver and make sure everyone who needs a meal in Wood County will get one.”

The center currently operates three routes for home-delivered meals. This car will allow them to add another route, said Nina Oates, nutrition coordinator.

”This car should allow us to get everyone off the current waiting list,” she said.

There are 212 clients who are registered to receive a home-delivered meal, Oates said. ”We have 138 on the waiting list right now,” she said.

Once evaluations are done for each person, more people will be added.

”Right now, our three routes are completely maxed out,” Oates said. ”I could not put anyone else on the routes.”

”This car will be used in the outskirts, because we do all of Wood County,” Oates said. ”It is going to service those out in the country, because this will be the safest vehicle we have now.”

Lou Thomas, owner of the dealership, said they are honored to be a part of helping the county’s senior population with this vehicle.

Over the past year, the Wood County Seniors Association delivered 44,629 lunches to seniors across Wood County and 9,290 lunches served at the Senior Center.

”This will increase the number of meals we will be able to deliver,” Seely said. ”We have a waiting list of 130 people and this will allow us to put on another delivery route and be able to service 70-80 new clients with meal deliveries.”

Donations to support the seniors meal programs are necessary for the center to maintain its grant funding and expand operations, officials said. Many of the federal and state grants are to meet the day-to-day expenses; expanding programs takes extra funding that the center must raise, officials said.

Funding for this new Subaru is being sought. The senior citizens association has received a grant from Dominion Gas Foundation and other donors, officials said.

Meal deliveries are one of the services provided by the Wood County Senior Citizens Association, along with home care services and transportation services, Seely said.