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North Suburban Meals on Wheels needs more customers to cover costs

| Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, 7:51 p.m.
Pine Creek Journal
North Suburban Meals on Wheels volunteers Wanda Trdinich (left) and Catherine Murphy help serve hot meals in the kitchen at Parkwood United Presbyterian Church in Hampton, to be delivered to clients in Hampton, Richland and West Deer. Bethany Hofstetter | Pine Creek Journal
Pine Creek Journal
North Suburban Meals on Wheels volunteers Wanda Trdinich, left, Patrick Santelli, Barbara Yaunt and Catherine Murphy pack meals and review the customer routes in Parkwood United Presbyterian Church, in Hampton, before delivering bagged lunches and hot meals to clients in Hampton, Richland and West Deer Townships. Bethany Hofstetter | Pine Creek Journal
Pine Creek Journal
North Suburban Meals on Wheels volunteer Lucy Smith packs hot meals into a travel container for volunteer drivers to deliver to clients in Hampton, Richland and West Deer Townships. Bethany Hofstetter | Pine Creek Journal

Mellon Bank retiree Dorris Eannarino highly recommends the meatloaf regularly delivered to clients of North Suburban Meals on Wheels.

At 81, Eannarino, of Hampton, is among eight volunteers who deliver the meatloaf to the homes.

“It just looks good and smells good,” she said. “Everybody raves about it.”

Cook Norma Lillion, 79, of Indiana Township mixes ground beef with bread stuffing, milk, eggs and barbecue sauce to create the popular meat dish.

Lillion also plans the menus for North Suburban Meals on Wheels clients.

“We try to have something different every day,” she said. “We have chicken once a week.”

Meanwhile, North Suburban Meals on Wheels officials say they need more residents of Hampton, Richland and West Deer townships to receive home-delivered meals, which are delivered in microwaveable containers for easy reheating.

“We're in need of clients. We're losing about $200 a month,” said William Inman, 70, of Hampton, treasurer of North Suburban Meals on Wheels.

North Suburban Meals on Wheels operates out of a rented kitchen at Parkwood Presbyterian Church in Hampton. The program relies on clients' fees for survival.

“We don't get any federal funding. We're strictly independent,” Inman said. “There are no (age or income) restrictions.”

Hot meals are available — Monday through Friday — for $20 per week. For $25 a week, clients also receive a bag lunch. Volunteer drivers bring the food to each client's door.

About 60 people once received the meals, according to Inman. He said 25 to 30 people including many senior citizens and a few disabled clients, currently use the meal program.

Four paid cooks prepare the food: Lillion, Pat DiPasquale of Shaler, Nancy Schmidt of West Deer and Lisa Craig of Richland.

“They cook early in the morning,” Inman said. “All of our drivers are volunteers. They go out about 9:30 in the morning and start delivering. They're done by noon.”

Bag lunches typically include a lunch meat sandwich, fresh fruit or fruit juice and homemade cookies.

Dinner typically includes beef, chicken, veal or ham, served with gravy, vegetables — often broccoli or cauliflower — and bread stuffing, mashed potatoes or oven-browned potatoes. Other regular entrees include tuna noodle casserole, pork chops and kielbasa with sauerkraut.

“All through Lent, they're going to have fish on Fridays,” said Eannarino, who highly recommends the oven-browned potatoes often included with a North Suburban Meals on Wheels dinner.

Lillion uses canned, whole potatoes and roasts them in a buttered pan.

“We bake them in the oven for a good hour and a half,” Lillion said. “The outside (of the potato) is a little crisp, and the inside is soft.”

To arrange for meal deliveries, call North Suburban Meals on Wheels at 412-486-7115 or 724-443-2322.

Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or ddeasy@tribweb.com.

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