Rockingham Co. Meals on Wheels waiting list has doubled

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REIDSVILLE, N.C. -- Rockingham County's Meals on Wheels program desperately needs donations, as funding decreases and demand increases.

Volunteers deliver hot, nutritious meals to about 200 homebound seniors every day throughout the county.

Lee Covington is the executive director of Aging, Disability & Transit Services for Rockingham County, which oversees Meals on Wheels.

"What we find with seniors is we deliver that hot meal at noon, but oftentimes they divide that. And eat half for lunch and save half for dinner. So it may be the only nutritional food that they get throughout the day," Covington explained.

Covington also said their waiting list of seniors has doubled in the last four months from 80 to 160 people.

The pressure of helping more people comes in conjunction with slashed funding.

"Our challenges came out of the Federal Sequestration," Covington explained. "A lot of funds came out of the Older Americans Act. We lost about $25,000 in federal money in first round of sequestration cuts. Plus a reduction in local support."

He said they are desperately trying to raise money and encourage more volunteers to sign up.

It's not just about food.

"Our volunteers coming by is often the only human contact these seniors have all day," he said, saying volunteers are also a form of a welfare check. They can call for help if a senior doesn't answer the door or is experiencing declining health.

"It takes eighty to ninety dollars to feed one senior for a month," Covington added. He hopes the local community will consider donating to Meals on Wheels to keep the program running.

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