LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – A timeless way people have always shown their care during the holidays is through a meal, “prepared with love.”
Meals On Wheels Lexington is delivering hot meals to the elderly and those on disability this holiday season, something they have traditionally upheld since the non-profit organization was established, in 1969.
“We make a big deal of the meal they get on the holiday or in this instance, Christmas Eve,” Melissa LeVine, President, Chairman, and Driver for Meals On Wheels Lexington said. “If everybody forgets them, they sit along and hungry.”
Planning weeks out, the head cook at Second Presbyterian Church made sure that on Christmas Eve, the families would get a special meal to brighten their holiday.
“We’re going to have ham, au gratin, and green beans. And then something special for their Christmas surprise,” LeVine said.
Between the Second Presbyterian Church and Trinity Baptist Church locations, Meals On Wheels Lexington prepares 200 meals per day, five days a week, for around 200 families. Each meal costs $6 per person.
One family receiving meals is William Staffieri and his wife Rose. They moved to Lexington from New Jersey within the last year, and have served others their whole lives through their church. Now, they’re on the receiving end of acts of kindness.
“We understand and we recognize what people have to do to help other people; We’re finding out that Lexington is very warm and generous,” Staffieri said. For his wife Rose, the friendships they have developed with the drivers are something deeply meaningful to her.
“I keep myself going because we’re liked. There are wonderful people here.” Staffieri said.
Another family receiving meals is Cathy Hutchison and her husband. “They have so much variety like when I used to cook, we had to eat it for three-to-four days. We’re delighted to have the food hot. That’s our hot meal for the day,'” Hutchison said.
For Hutchison, she’s on disability, so it is a huge weight off her shoulders to not have to cook or eat out every single day.
“We’re old and decrepit, so the people who come to our doors with the food are just as sweet as can be,” Hutchison said.
The volunteer drivers do more than just delivering meals. They also serve as the second set of eyes, checking to make sure the families are alright.
“We want to know they’re ok,” LeVine said. “But sometimes, something really bad has happened, and we were the ones that found out.”
Even during the pandemic, the deliveries have not slowed down. In fact, it’s increased the need for meals by 25%.
With news of the omicron variant rising in the county, LeVine said the drivers are going back to wearing masks, and placing meals in coolers on their doorsteps for those who prefer the method. But in terms of her safety, she said she’s not worried.
“They’re usually in their homes most of the time and I use precaution, so I’m not worried about giving it to anyone, and I’m not worried about them giving it to me,” LeVine said.
And more than just a hot meal, these volunteers spending time to come to see the families on Christmas makes them feel extra grateful.
“We’ll get our meals on Christmas Eve, and it’s nice. I wish I could give back,” Hutchison said.
The families are not the only grateful ones. Meals On Wheels Lexington is also grateful to the Lexington Jewish Community, B’nai B’rith. Since the 1980s, the local chapter has stepped up to volunteer to do the meal deliveries on Christmas.
“And I so appreciate the Jewish volunteers for doing that. It’s a really generous offer,” LeVine said. “We don’t have to call and ask. They call us every year and remind us that they want to do that for us.”
Meals on Wheels Lexington always appreciate more donations to help out their program with affording food for the 200 families they serve. To donate, click the following link: Donate Now – Meals on Wheels Lexington