Meals on Wheels in Midtown

Inell Jackson, left, expressed how difficult it has become to get around.

 

BY STEPHANIE FARID, Neighborhood News Bureau

ST. PETERSBURG –Shortly after moving from Indiana to Florida, Kevin Mcfall’s wife passed away. He decided to become a volunteer with the Meals on Wheels program through his church, Maximo Presbyterian, and has been on a Midtown route for more than six years.

“I’m out here delivering, and these people can’t even get out,” he said. “They’re in a difficult position.”

Meals on Wheels has served the Midtown area for more than 30 years.

“Meals on Wheels has been here forever, since this building opened,” said Cheryl Holliday, coordinator of the Midtown Meals on Wheels service, referring to the Enoch Davis Center.

The service at the Enoch Davis location has many routes that exclusively serve Midtown. At the core of the program are nutritious meals and a watchful eye on the health and safety of seniors.

They serve one hot meal and one cold meal (usually a sandwich) Monday through Thursday, and one hot meal and three cold meals on Friday to last through the weekend.

Most of the people who receive this service are unable to leave the house, so the meals that they receive are sometimes all that they eat.

On Mcfall’s route, there is Flymae Culbreth. She sits on her couch by the door waiting for her delivery. Inell Jackson, a former bus driver of 35 years, expressed how difficult it has become to get around. This is where Meals on Wheels gives back to those who once served the area.

According to Mcfall, one recipient on his route has never once emerged from the inside.  A caretaker handles the chores that require a lot of movement.

“I’m sure she gets out of it occasionally, but I have never seen Joyce up from that chair,” said Mcfall.

Joyce has a caretaker handle the chores that require a lot of movement and rarely leaves her chair.

Joyce has a caretaker handle the chores that require a lot of movement and rarely leaves her chair.

The Meals on Wheels program is a necessity for seniors living alone and experiencing a decline in mobility or health. The safety check that accompanies each meal delivery ensures that in a case of an emergency or problem, medics will be called and families will be notified.

“We really make sure to actively note anyone that doesn’t answer the door,” said the Midtown coordinator Holliday. “The main office makes a call to check on anyone that may be needing help.”

Mcfall is a substitute volunteer for his route, so he is not assigned any particular day of the week, but he comes to the rescue when one of the regular volunteers cannot make it. The route serves 10 people; the last four, however, are in the same building, resulting in seven stops.

Anyone interested in volunteering can sign up at www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org.

Stephanie Farid is a student reporter in the Neighborhood News Bureau of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. Visit www.nnbnews.com for more info.

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