STEP’s Senior Services program in Stuart is accepting new participants for its home-delivered meals (Meals on Wheels), group (congregate) meals, and transportation services. All services are provided to seniors who are at least 60 years old for donations based on income.
Seniors receiving home-delivered meals are referred to STEP by the Southern Area Agency on Aging (SAAA). Depending on where the seniors live, they may receive hot, prepared meals or bagged groceries. The meals are prepared in STEP’s kitchen and delivered by staff and volunteers.
In addition to nutritious meals, “our staff and volunteers provide a friendly face, someone to chat with, and the security of knowing that someone who cares is checking in,” said Doris Fain, STEP senior services director.
Seniors can also gather for group meals which are served at STEP’s Stuart location and at sites in Ararat and Meadows of Dan. Meeting several times a week, the program includes an informational presentation about issues important to senior citizens. There is no charge for the group meals, however donations are requested.
Transportation to the group meals, to and from medical appointments, and for periodic shopping trips is also provided to seniors in STEP’s vans. This service is also offered for donations but must be arranged in advance.
STEP’s Senior Services relies heavily on volunteers and donations, according to Fain. It receives funding from SAAA, Meals on Wheels America, and the Patrick County government. However the agency is always searching for ways to increase services.
“We can’t ignore the fact that our elderly friends and neighbors have unmet needs,” said Fain. “We welcome support in our endeavors to address those needs.”
According to Meals on Wheels America, an astounding number of senior citizens are threatened by isolation and hunger. In Virginia alone, almost 400,000 seniors live alone. Close to 200,000 are food-deprived. And more than 350,000 live in or near poverty.
STEP will celebrate 50 years of service with a 50th anniversary celebration September 8 at Ferrum College in Rocky Mount. For more information about STEP and its services and programs in Patrick County, contact Fain at 276-694-2239.