VIDEO: Volunteers learn about Farmington Hills Meals on Wheels

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A group of employees from the Area Agency on Aging 1-B in Southfield, recently spent the day volunteering with the City of Farmington Hills Meals on Wheels program.

The primary funding source and main administrator for the local Meals on Wheels program wanted employees to see the program in action as they packed meals, received a briefing on 16 different route assignments, and delivered 185 meals throughout the City of Farmington Hills.

Deliveries included hot packaged meals as well as cold bagged meals and beverages. Each delivery included specific instructions with details ranging from the number of cats at the home to the emergency contact information in case no one answered.

“We serve six counties, including Oakland County, and our mission is to enhance the lives of older adults and those with disabilities,” said Chief Communications and Strategy Officer Jenny Jarvis. “For some homebound seniors, receiving their delivery from Meals on Wheels may be the only social contact in their day.”

Meals on Wheels volunteers
Area Agency on Aging Volunteers (left to right) – Heather DeVos, Philanthropy Specialist; John Kruger, CFO; Jenny Jarvis, Chief Communications & Strategy Officer; Katie Brennan, Director of Philanthropy; and Teresa Bryant, Farmington Hills Nutrition Services Coordinator (City of Farmington Hills)

From October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2019, the Farmington Hills Meals on Wheels program served 85,897 home-delivered meals. The program is not income-based and is supported through State and Federal funding; recipients may make optional donations which are then returned back to the program.

Meals on Wheels volunteers
Meal Packaging (left to right) – Christine Johnston, Kitchen Programmer, Farmington Hills Senior Division; Janet Belsky, Supports Coordinator; Zachery Ellsworth, Supports Coordinator; Melissa Timm, MI Choice Quality & Training Manager (City of Farmington Hills)

At the center of the City’s Meals on Wheels program is Teresa Bryant, Nutrition Services Coordinator for the Department of Special Services Senior Division. Bryant manages the initial needs assessments, supervises the meal packing, and helps navigators and drivers coordinate their delivery assignments.

Meals on Wheels volunteers
Sealing Meal Packages (left to right) – Christine Johnston, Kitchen Programmer, Farmington Hills Senior Division; Cynthia Saunders, Supports Coordinator; and Amy Frawley, Supports Coordinator (City of Farmington Hills)

The operation runs Monday through Friday, with a frozen “heat and eat” meal packet available for delivery on Friday to be used for Saturday and Sunday meals. Meals are delivered on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, with a frozen meal packet delivered prior to other holiday closures.

Meals on Wheels volunteers
Teresa Bryant, Farmington Hills Nutrition Services Coordinator, gives directions to volunteers. (City of Farmington Hills)

“People who are eligible include those who are unable to get out on a regular basis and those who aren’t able to drive or shop on their own,” said Bryant. “The program truly makes a difference in these people’s lives.”

If you or a family member is in need of help with daily nutrition, or if you’d like to volunteer with Meals on Wheels, contact Bryant at 248-473-1825 or tbryant@fhgov.com.