National News

'Meals on Wheels' in need of delivery trucks

Posted August 22, 2017 12:32 p.m. EDT

— A valuable service for seniors and children needs some help rolling.

The team that runs Meals on Wheels of Central Connecticut said it is desperate need of a few custom delivery trucks.

The 24 delivery trucks it currently uses prepare deliver 6,000 meals for the day.

Clarence Nixon, one of the drivers, said he's been doing the job for 10 years.

"I got seven stops I go," Nixon told Eyewitness News. "Wethersfield, Newington, Elmwood, Parkville, Spanish, Smith Towers and adult daycare."

However, the community renewal team said that's pretty usual for each of their trucks and the wear-and-tear is catching up with them.

"Many of these trucks actually deliver more than a hundred miles a day, meals directly to the seniors," said Gus Keach-Longo, vice president, senior services. "So without the truck on the road, it becomes a logistical nightmare."

The trucks are highly specialized with two sections for hot and cold food.

They cost about $70,000.

While the organization said it is federally funded, money is only allotted for gas and maintenance, not a new truck.

Their funds don't even cover if one of them breaks down.

"It shuts down operation," Nixon said. "We can't work efficiently like we're supposed to."

So CRT is turning to the public for help.

"Even if it's a 4 [or] 5 minute conversation, a hug, that's great!" Keach-Longo said. "That has just has much value as nutrition."

"It's fulfilling to be able to talk to them and they want to talk to you," Nixon said. "It's how you treat them and they treat you."

The 16th Annual Meals on Wheels Golf Classic is next month on Sept. 12 at the Keney Park Golf Course in Windsor.

Last year's tournament raised more than $70,000.

Organizers said the plan is to order a new truck next month if they raise enough funds from this year's tournament.