Since 1973, Meals on Wheels volunteers have delivered hot weekday dinners and cold suppers to homebound, recuperating, and elderly neighbors in Rye, Port Chester, and Rye Brook. The balanced, nutritious meals are prepared at Hubbard’s Cupboard in Port Chester and delivered at midday.
“Our recipients are mostly the frail elderly, living alone or with family members who work outside the home,” said Meals on Wheels co-chair Beth Griffin Matthews. “We do not impose an income limit. We deliver meals to people who are unable to shop or prepare their own. For many, Meals on Wheels is the key component that allows the elderly or disabled to live in their own homes and maintain relative independence.”
Added co-chair Judi Linton, “The food is critical, but the friendly visit is just as important, particularly for people who might not have many visitors.”
Sometimes, the daily knock on the door is also a lifesaver. Judi said an alert driver who heard moaning from inside an apartment last spring summoned emergency help for a recipient who had fallen overnight.
Meals on Wheels of Port Chester, Rye Brook and Rye, Inc. is an independent group, not affiliated with any other organization. The co-chairs said it seems to be the only such operation on the Sound Shore that is privately funded and staffed entirely by volunteers.
“We are fortunate to have 55 volunteers, each of whom delivers meals once a month,” said Beth. “Judi and I have an active and engaged board of directors and we follow in the well-worn footsteps of beloved former chairs Patrick Bradley, Rosaleen O’Neill, and Richard Hansen.”
Recipients are generally billed the same amount that Meals on Wheels pays the food provider. Thanks to a generous bequest, all recipients currently enjoy a modest subsidy. In addition, the organization quietly absorbs costs for people unable to pay.
During its first year of operation, Meals on Wheels delivered 1,076 meals. This year, the volunteers will bring more than 12,000 hot dinners and cold suppers to waiting men and women throughout the three communities.