Local Meals on Wheels program faces changes after budget cuts

(KATU Photo)

Lunchtime for seniors at the Multnomah Center in SW Portland functions like a well-oiled machine thanks to Meals on Wheels volunteers.

Heidi Miller has managed the Multnomah Center for two years, and says the volunteers and seniors who eat together daily have become a family.

“Oh yeah, I can’t get out the door without at least a half dozen hugs which is just fine with me,” Miller said.

Seniors rely on Miller and other volunteers to serve up a nutritious and delicious meal.

“You have that cornerstone meal it represents about 1/3 to ½ of caloric and nutrition needs that really enables them to live independently,” Miller said.

But she says it’s about more than just a good meal.

“Really it's the contact, the daily contact with that volunteer that makes the difference,” Miller said.

Just one week from Friday, the rolling dessert cart will take its last spin at the Multnomah Center as Meals on Wheels faces budget cuts.

“We received a budget cut from Multnomah County. In order to accommodate that, we are moving the services across the street,” Executive Director of Meals on Wheels People Suzanne Washington said.

Instead of five days a week, seniors will be able to get meals at the Meals on Wheels headquarters twice a week. The other days they will either have to get meals delivered or travel to a different center.

“We understand every small change is huge in their lives so we are really trying to do the best we can so we don't have a wait list,” Washington said.

Meals on Wheels People are looking for volunteers to help deliver meals and some to clean dishes at their meal centers.

If you would also like to help out with donations, there are a number of ways to do that through its website.

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