By Eric Butler
Editor’s note: This is the sixth in a series of United Way agency profiles scheduled for publication each Sunday, Wednesday and Friday through Nov. 21.
Upon being released from the hospital after a recent stay, 70-year-old Joyce Noack of Clovis got a suggestion that might make her life a little easier.
The advice was to get meals delivered to her from Clovis Meals on Wheels — and Noack said the subsequent deliveries of lunch to her home at a moderate price has indeed helped.
“I’m alone; I’m a widow. My husband (Asa) died 4 1/2 years ago and it’s hard to cook for just one person,” Noack said. “And you have a tendency to eat things that aren’t good for you.”
A diabetic, Noack has specially prepared meals delivered to her on a daily basis for $3.25.
She’s one of 25 people in Clovis who are on the delivery routes for Meals on Wheels volunteer drivers.
“That’s cheap compared to having to buy the stuff, cook it and clean up after it,” Noack said. “It’s easier to have them bring it out to you.”
Clovis Meals on Wheels, subsidized largely by United Way contributions, was formed in 1982 and is based out of Plains Regional Medical Center.
It’s no coincidence that most of the group’s clients are originally referred to Meals on Wheels by medical personnel looking to continue a healthy diet that’s first instituted in the hospital room.
“The last time I was in there, they said I really needed diabetic meals,” said Noack, who has been on the program for six months. “The meals, they gear them to us. They don’t feed me any fried food, they make them not highly seasoned — that sort of thing.
“Once in a great while, I’ve gotten a very thin piece of cake.”
Loretta Turner, director for Clovis Meals on Wheels, said that the specially geared meals are delivered seven days a week around lunchtime. The drivers generally come from local churches, the Pilot Club or the Altrusa Club.
“We have all diets — diabetic, low-salt, low-cholesterol. Anything that’s required by a doctor, we supply it,” Turner said. “A lot of them are just coming out of the hospital. Even if they just need it for a short time to recuperate; it’s what the program is all about.”
Turner said the ability to pay determines how much meals will cost participants.
But the price generally never goes much higher that the cost of preparing them — around $3.15 per meal.
“We can work with somebody if their medical bills or drug bills are too high,” Turner said. “We try to work with them so they can afford to pay a little bit of the meal.”