Ned staff shows of its care for the elderly; Nederland employees reach out to elderly with Meals on Wheels

Published 5:40 pm Tuesday, June 6, 2017

NEDERLAND — A group of eight City of Nederland employees are working to make a difference in the community.

City manager Chris Duque, human resources director Holly Guidry, city clerk Gay Ferguson, secretary Joni Underwood, IT director William Spell, finance director Cheryl Dowden, secretary Megan Hatcher and parks and recreation director Angela Fanette, step up on Fridays to help deliver meals to the elderly through Meals on Wheels.

Packaged meals ready to be delivered to local elderly through Meals on Wheels.
Mary Meaux/The News

Meals on Wheels is a part of Nutrition Services for Seniors, a non-profit agency “dedicated to providing innovative, effective programs that assist older adults in leading quality lives while maintaining dignity and independence,” according to the website.

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On a recent Friday, Duque and Guidry stopped by the Nederland Senior Citizens Center where they picked up meals enough for two routes.

For the volunteers, this means more than just bringing a meal to a senior — they are interacting with seniors who are likely homebound.

“We can tell if someone is not interacting with others and they get to know us,” Guidry said. “This is an underserved group. Some can come here (senior center) and eat but not all can get out.”

The volunteers have shared special moments with the clients and have even brought birthday cakes and food for the clients’ pets.

“I have gotten very attached to them,” she said of the people on her route.

Duque said he first learned of the opportunity to volunteer during a morning chamber of commerce networking coffee earlier this year. A woman there explained there is always a need for more help. Duque then went back to city hall and posed the question to fellow employees.

The group who chose to volunteer — and they use their own vehicles to deliver the meals — underwent training then learned their routes.

“We go out on Friday’s, once a week. It takes about an hour,” Duque said. “Everyone involved enjoys it and this is a way to be engaged with the community.”

Persons interested in helping Meals on Wheels can call Nutrition Services For Seniors at 892-4455 or go to the website.