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Door to door service

http://www.marinscope.com/mill_valley_herald/news/door­to­door­service/article_77a36508­f761­11e5­ b86e­b741adf22b07.html

Door to door serviceTwin Cities mayors among Marin leaders riding with meals on wheels to get look at senior needs

By Derek Wilson and Soren Hemmila | Marinscope Newspapers

Novato Mayor Pat Eklund visits with Craig Nelson during a ride along with Meals on Wheels delivery drivers last  week.

Mayors of cities across Marin joined volunteers with Whistlestop’s Meals on Wheels to deliver food last week and raise awareness of senior hunger.

Whistlestop’s Erika Vaughn said three paid drivers and 35 volunteers deliver meals to seniors throughout Marin County.

Corte Madera Mayor Sloan Bailey joined Whistlestop volunteer Orville Teising on Friday to deliver meals to three residents, including one of his neighbors.

John Bacigalupi was a little surprised to see it was not Teising, but Bailey delivering an order of chicken cacciatore, fruit, a biscuit and milk.

Bacigalupi lives just a few blocks away from Bailey. The two stood in the doorway joking and talking about the friends they might have in common.

Bacigalupi said the Whistlestop meals are a great help and that it’s nice to have someone to talk with for a while.

Larkspur Mayor Catherine Way participated in a similar ride along on Wednesday.

Teising joined the volunteer corps at Whistlestop five years ago, working in the Jackson Cafe and the information center at the organization’s downtown San Rafael facility.

“I want to get out and see people,” said Teising, who lives in Mill Valley. “People are fascinating. I hear their stories and they have done some amazing things with their lives. It’s great to just spend some time with them.”

Bailey credited Councilwoman Carla Condon with the push to have Corte Madera officially certified as an age­friendly community.

The Age­Friendly Corte Madera Task Force, a nonprofit organization, helps provide seniors with access to key services, including home repairs and healthcare.

“It’s a sensible program designed to accommodate people who are getting on in years,” Bailey said.

Bailey said the town is dedicated to providing seniors with access to transportation, legal aid and information, and recreation and enrichment programs.

Whistlestop’s Meals on Wheels program serves 230 Marin residents, but it is not just about a warm meal.

“A lot of the clients just love the company and look forward to these visits,” Vaughn said while delivering meals in unincorporated Strawberry with Mill Valley Mayor John McCauley last week.

Volunteers provide meals throughout the week and get to know their clients, according to Vaughn, who says Whistlestop will also conduct well checks on clients.

If things don’t seem right at a client’s home Vaughn said volunteers will make a note of it, and Whistlestop will follow up and contact the client’s caregivers.

Vaughn said Whistlestop’s clients get close enough to their volunteers to talk to them about personal issues and financial matters. She recalled one incident where a caregiver was spending a client’s money.

“The volunteer rushed back and told me. We did a report, and got that handled,” Vaughn said.

Strawberry resident Loyce King originally from Louisiana said having the company is nice, and the meals really help her out.

“I don’t always eat the meals right away. I put them in the freezer in case I need them,” King said.

Mayor McCauley said in addition to providing seniors with food the most important thing Meals on Wheels is doing is providing social contact with their clients.

“You can see the great affection that exists between the clients and the Meal on Wheels people. I thought it was very moving,” McCauley said.

Anyone who is 60 or older, lives in Marin and is homebound and frail is eligible for the meal service. The Division of Aging and Adult services will provide an In­Home Assessment within the first two weeks of being on the program to determine the eligibility of a participant. Meals are available on a long­term basis or temporarily if you are recovering from surgery or illness.

Visit whistlestop.org for more information about Whistlestop. Contact Derek Wilson at dwilson@marinscope.com.

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