ShareThis Page

McKeesport Meals on Wheels volunteers honored at luncheon

| Friday, May 16, 2014, 3:41 a.m.
McKeesport Area Meals on Wheels board of directors member Marilyn Baldwin, right, presented gifts to key members of the organzation at a luncheon for volunteers on Thursday. Seen here with her are Rev. Bruce Mounts, Helen Stratigos and Rose Marshall.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
McKeesport Area Meals on Wheels board of directors member Marilyn Baldwin, right, presented gifts to key members of the organzation at a luncheon for volunteers on Thursday. Seen here with her are Rev. Bruce Mounts, Helen Stratigos and Rose Marshall.

They rise and shine early and venture forth into the day, regardless of the season, to help feed their fellow man.

It is usually the role of Meals on Wheels volunteers to prepare, pack and deliver meals to folks who can't cook for themselves.

One day a year, the McKeesport Area Meals on Wheels program recognizes its own small army of volunteers who serve up hot and brown bag lunches to some 95 households a day.

Thursday was that day.

“I like getting out in the morning with all the volunteers and just helping the elderly who can't cook for themselves,” said Irene Scott, who is head cook for the McKeesport program, which is based at First United Methodist Church in McKeesport.

Scott, who was one of several key members of the program to receive special recognition during the annual luncheon at Faith Lutheran Church in White Oak on Thursday, said she got involved with the meal program about 13 years ago.

“I saw an ad in the paper and thought that would be something I'd like to do,” Scott said.

Volunteers George and Shirley Nelson, who were at the luncheon, too, have a much shorter history with the local program.

The husband and wife started delivering meals together in their Toyota RAV4 just last fall after a recruiter for the program asked them if they'd like to get involved.

George Nelson said they derive much satisfaction from their run, which includes parts of White Oak and Coulter.

“You spend a lot of time talking to them and trying to make them smile,” Nelson said of the patrons he and his wife serve. The couple said they plan to stay active with the meal program for the indefinite future.

The Rev. Bruce Mounts, president of the board of directors for the Meals on Wheels chapter, told volunteers, “To see you all here is very encouraging.”

“You make it possible and you continue to make it possible,” said Mounts, who noted the local program was still “fitting the pieces in place” after declaring itself independent from Lutheran Services Society about a year ago.

McKeesport and a number of local programs had been overseen by the Lutheran Services Society for years but recent changes to the way the society administers the program resulted in some Meals on Wheels' kitchens being consolidated or closed and others declaring themselves as independent kitchens.

Michele Taylor of Lutheran Services Society attended the McKeesport program's luncheon.

Taylor said she's assisted a number of kitchens that have transitioned into independent programs. She said the McKeesport program represents the successful model the Meals on Wheels program was founded on, that is, one which is operated by volunteers and has neighbors serving neighbors.

“This is what it should be,” said Taylor, who added it is up to local programs and their volunteers to determine the right course for their respective programs, whether that is under the administrative direction of Lutheran Services Society or as independent kitchens.

The event included the reading of a proclamation from McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko declaring Thursday as Meals on Wheels Day. Rose Marshall, site coordinator for the McKeesport program, read the document aloud to volunteers.

For information about McKeesport Area Meals on Wheels, call 412-672-1998.

Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or eslagle@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.