Community Rallies to Deliver Senior Meals

Saturday, Jun 11, 2011  |  Updated 7:25 PM EDT
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Volunteers come together to donate goods and time after a vendor that provided food for area agencies serving needy abruptly shuts down.
News4's Derrick Ward has that story.

NBC Washington

Volunteers come together to donate goods and time after a vendor that provided food for area agencies serving needy abruptly shuts down. News4's Derrick Ward has that story.

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When one door rather abruptly shut on a D.C. charity that delivers meals to seniors, volunteers and local business stepped in to open up a new one.

Iona Senior Services is a charity that helps deliver food to older D.C. residents that cannot get out on their own.

"We are a safety net service advisor," said Sally White, the organization's executive director, and "we've had a really tough week."

White's organization learned rather abruptly last week that the food vendor that has delivered the food for Iona's emergency food kits would no longer be able to provide.  The vendor, Nutrition Inc., has had a long running contract with the District and other municipalities to deliver meals for seniors.  But facing business pressures that have already forced numerous layoffs, the company said it will soon be filing for bankruptcy.

That left Iona in a tight spot.

The meals that Iona provides to elder D.C. residents are about more than nutrition, the charity's volunteers say.  When their clients get an emergency food kit, "they know they can expect a visitor on Saturday mornings, and they're really appreciative," said T.J. Hines, a volunteer.  Iona says that human connection can be as important as the food itself.

The charity has taken an all-hands-on-deck approach to bridge the interruption in service.  In place of Nutrition, Inc., Iona received food from the Capital Area Foodbank, Whole Foods Market, and Giant.  It’s also tapped their network of volunteers, who made over 100 food deliveries on Saturday.

White thinks that with the quickly assembled contingency plan, her organization will be able to continue service until a new permanent food vendor is found.

But if you would like to lend a hand, visit Iona's website to learn about ways to help.
 

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