Meals (back) on wheels

Homebound seniors in Logan and Champaign counties are once again receiving hot meals delivered daily after one of the nation’s oldest meals on wheels programs took over the service locally.

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Sharon Hackenberg of Canal Winchester, left, a meals on wheels driver for Life Care Alliance, delivers a meal to Bellefontaine resident Bob Simons on Friday. Mrs. Hackenberg and her husband Larry have delivered meals for the past 17 years for the Columbus nonprofit agency that recently took over services in Logan and Champaign counties. The couple say it is a good opportunity to give back to the community in their retirement and keeps them physically active. (EXAMINER PHOTO | REUBEN MEES)

The Columbus-based Life Care Alliance, which has been delivering meals to seniors in Franklin County for 43 years, was awarded a contract through the Area Agency on Aging and resumed delivering meals July 1. Congregate meal sites will also be reinstated by the end of the month.

Seniors stopped receiving meals in late March when Tri County Community Action learned it had no money to continue its day-to-day operations. Frozen meals were delivered in the interim, but the new service once again provides seniors with daily visits from delivery drivers bearing ready-to-eat meals.

This is not the first time the 116-year-old  Columbus nonprofit has picked up where another agency has been financially unable to continue providing the service, Life Care Alliance CEO Chuck Gehring said.

Columbus was the second city in the United States to begin feeding seniors, and Life Care Alliance has provided the service the entire time, he said. In 2003, the agency took over operations in Marion County after the hospital there could no longer afford to run it and in 2013, they assumed responsibility for the program in Madison County.

It was at the request of the Area Agency on Aging that they took on Logan and Champaign counties. While Shelby County is also under the Tri County umbrella, Tri County did not run the senior nutrition program there.

“They are an experienced meal provider already providing meals in neighboring counties,” Doug McGarry of the Dayton office of the Area Agency on Aging said. “We’re excited to have a proven provider and everything appears to be going smoothly so far.”


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