Smiles are what make Meals on Wheels' association with Pueblo's Senior Resource Development Agency (SRDA) worthwhile.
This year, as part of their frequent delivery schedule, the meals and gift donations are missing some of those smiles due to masks. But the Valentine's Day deliveries Friday will still ensue.
Donations this year have come from Leeward Pronghorn Solar Park who donated several crossword and puzzles books. Deliza Klovas’ fourth-grade class at Belmont Elementary School donated Valentine's cards with handwritten messages. Joan and Pablo Ramirez also donated cards for the occasion.
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Communities who are 60-plus and have registered to be part of the program will all have a holiday basket of their own.
"They are so thankful, number one, because they got anything," said Jane Schifferdecker, Meals on Wheels recruiter. "A lot of people that reached like 80-90 years of age, they don't have friends anymore and many (members) of their family are gone.
"So they're tickled when they get a gift or somebody pays a little attention to them — stops and talks, you know, that kind of thing.
"It's a big deal."
The program also is supporting members of the nine congregate sites who are normally able to come to cafeteria-style events and receive meals. With COVID-19 those sites are closed, but the members will still have their items delivered.
The main thing missing for the organization is more volunteers.
Donations are still being accepted for this week's and future events, and drivers are needed. In some instances, those same drivers are not only gift givers, but able to save lives.
"We do a self-check to make sure they're doing well," Schifferdecker. "We had a lady last week that went to the hospital with a possible stroke and our driver hung out there with her until the medics got there. It's much bigger than just simply giving (gifts)."
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Those wishing to aid the cause, as a driver or volunteer, are encouraged to call Schifferdecker at 553-3422. She will also handle any donations for the event.
Chieftain reporter Luke Zahlmann can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @lukezahlmann.