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Ligonier Meals on Wheels seeks recipients

| Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, 9:04 p.m.
Bill Pribisco
Gil Flint (right) explains the packing method used by the Meals on Wheels volunteers to Holly Mowrey of the Chamber of Commerce. He holds the food container they use at the Heritage United Methodist Church to keep the food protected while heand other volunteers deliver the meals throughout the Ligonier area. Mowrey was at the facility to donate a $350 check from the Gingerbread house contest to the local Meals on Wheels organization. Bill Pribisco | For the Ligonier Echo

Ligonier Valley Meals on Wheels recently received a donation from the Ligonier Valley Chamber of Commerce. But, what they really need is more meal recipients.

The local nonprofit organization typically delivers a hot meal to more than 55 local residents five days a week. Recently, the number of people being served has declined.

“It is important for us get the word out so people are aware of the program,” said Louise Wagner, a 12-year volunteer driver for the group. “We operate quietly and nobody knows much about what we offer.”

The $350 donation was raised during the chamber's Gingerbread House contest.

“I'm happy the chamber was able to raise money for Ligonier Valley Meals on Wheels through the annual Gingerbread House Contest,” said Holly Mowrey, chamber director. “It is comforting to know that people who can benefit from a healthy meal are able to receive it from such a great organization. It is wonderful to have this available to our community.”

For $3 a day, recipients receive a hot meal delivered in a returnable container each week day around noon. The meal includes a meat, vegetable, bread, salad and dessert.

The meal is available to anyone in the community on a permanent or temporary basis, Wagner said.

“You don't have to be elderly or on a fixed income to participate in the program,” Wagner said. “Some people use the service while they are recuperating from an operation and they cannot cook for themselves.”

Judy Shaffer, kitchen coordinator for the group, also encourages shut-ins to use the meal service.

“With this winter weather, some people may not be able to get out to shop for food,” said Shaffer. “They can join us on a temporary basis. This is a great opportunity for temporary help after surgery or if you are sick and can't cook a hot meal right now.”

The Ligonier group was started by the Association of Churches in Ligonier more than 40 years ago.

Wagner said they are not part of the federally-funded Meals on Wheels program.

“There is a misconception that our program receives federal funding, we don't,” she said. “We are unique and solely operate on what the recipients pay for meals.

They also receive contributions from churches, businesses and individuals in the Ligonier Valley area.

“We are funding strictly by donations,” said Shaffer. “We use the donations to buy the food and supplies. The money the recipients pay in no way covers the total cost of the meals and supplies needed to prepare and package the meals.”

Wagner said she decided to be a volunteer for the group because she remembered her grandmother receiving similar meals.

“I decided back then, that one day I want to do that for other people,” she said.

Wagner said getting to know the people on her route has been a big plus with this job.

“Most of the recipients I visit always have something positive to say,” she said. “It is very uplifting for me. They make me smile.”

For more information about the program, call 724-238-7250.

See photo on page 3.

Deborah A. Brehun is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-238-2111 or