Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jesse Murphy

Meals on Wheels in Niwot all week


Courtesy Photo Gary Propp loads up meals for his Meals on Wheels delivery route.

Longmont’s Meals on Wheels program is now serving Niwot residents all week long.

Karla Hale, executive director at the Longmont Senior Center, said that during her previous 16 years at the center, Niwot has only been served on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule.

“Mainly what it is really about is having enough volunteers to add on those extra days,” Hale said. “When we add on an extra route, we’re talking so many more volunteers needed every day and substitute drivers for those routes too.”

The move has been in the works — enough volunteers had to be found in order to provide the extra days.

“We’re finding that there’s more need in Niwot and that people would like to have a meal every day,” Hale said. “Meghan (Altland), our volunteer coordinator, was able to find enough people to do that, and we’re able to get people meals in Niwot every day, and that’s exciting.”

The Longmont center serves the entire City of Longmont, and the communities of Niwot and Hygiene. It also supplies food for the organization in Lyons that handles distribution there.

At the center, they make 450 meals a day. This amounts to a total of 26 routes run every weekday. The center has about 150 committed volunteers weekly, with hundreds more on standby, and the volunteers who work in the kitchen.

“We are always looking for volunteers,” Hale said. “Some people can’t do a regular route or we need a fill-in for Niwot. If they live in Niwot, they can just pick up the meals and basically end up at home. We’re always looking for people who can help in the kitchen as well.”

The center (910 Longs Peak Ave., Longmont) is open from 11:30 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday. The meals are the same as those delivered, except lunch at the center sometimes comes with more options. The cost is $6 for anyone who is not a senior.

More programs

The senior center is also now taking part in a lockbox program with the help of donations from Longmont realtor Wendy Conder. They’ve installed about 80 of them so far, and are willing to expand to all seniors in the area, not just those who use their services.

“With her, the fire departments and the City of Longmont, other places have gotten wind of it,” Hale said. “We’ve had people call to find out about it in other places also.”

The idea is to provide a lockbox with a key in it so that first responders can help a person who is living alone and can’t unlock the door themselves.

“Anyone who is on our meals on wheels program can get a lockbox put on their house,” Hale said. “The key goes inside, and the only people that have the code to the box are emergency personnel.”

In Niwot, Mountain View Fire and Rescue would do the installation and put the code in the 911 CAD system.

Courtesy photo Carly Hale and Staff Sgt. Brett Peronto help serve meals at the Longmont Senior Center.

“The first responders can get the code from the system and they will be able to get into the house,” Hale said. “This has been huge, it’s saved many lives. We’re really excited that that program is growing.”

Along the same vein is the Emergency Pet Program, which is a partnership with the Longmont Humane Society, and some grant funding to help seniors with pets.

“What we’re seeing is that a lot of seniors don’t want to leave their homes if they have a pet,” Hale said. “This helps with taking that edge off of them so they can get well. And then we can put something else in place for the pet.”

On May 4, the Senior Center and Longmont United Hospital are having a safety fair focused on home safety for the elderly. Information on all of their programs can be found at www.longmontmeals.org. To volunteer, call 303-772-0540.


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