Vergennes Rotary Supports Local Meals on Wheels Program

Throughout Vermont, the Meals and Wheels program serves a vital function, connecting seniors with a nourishing meal and a friendly face five times a week. The Champlain Valley Agency on Aging, located in Essex Junction, administers the overall program but depends on local support to manage the scheduling, drivers and meal delivery.

In Vergennes, those local responsibilities are fulfilled by the Rotary Club of Vergennes. Rotary’s involvement started when the local coordinator moved out of town in 2002 and Rotarians Ralph Jackman and Lynn Jackson Donnelly stepped in to take on these important Meals on Wheels functions.

The use of technology now allows Lynn, her sister and Rotarian Susan Burdick and fellow realtor Danelle Birong to smoothly handle the logistics of scheduling and routing from their Century 21 office. Fellow Rotarian Tim Vincent works diligently to ensure that Meals on Wheels has the required number of drivers each day and that the routes are completed. Tim trains new drivers and arranges for substitutes when needed.

The Vergennes program also serves residents in the four neighboring communities of Ferrisburgh, Addison, Waltham and Panton. There are four routes each week day, and the number of participants ranges from 25-30. Rotary has always provided drivers for the program but it is not a requirement that a driver be a Rotarian, just a helpful, friendly visitor.

“What’s so gratifying is our clients usually don’t have a hot meal. And this may be the only company they have throughout the week,” said Lynn. “It’s not only a meal,” she continued, “It’s a safety check for our seniors.”

The Vergennes Rotary Club is proud to serve the community to provide this invaluable service. We consider Meals on Wheels to be one of our most valuable service projects and encourage other Rotary Clubs to become involved either in providing volunteer drivers, administering the local program or donating to a statewide effort.