Red Hatters donate gift to local food pantry

Posted Monday, Oct. 07, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Near-bare shelves at a local food pantry will be restocked thanks to a group of seniors from the The Conservatory at Keller Town Center.

On Oct. 3, the Conservatory Traveling Red Hatters donated $600 to Metroport Meals On Wheels, Inc., a grassroots volunteer advocate for the elderly through home-delivered meals.

Mary King, executive director of MMOW, said the donation will buy about four- to six-weeks worth of food for home deliveries.

The organization, located in Roanoke, delivers hot meals five days per week to 140 people. They also deliver staples once a month and fresh produce as available.

“The magic of this gift is we were in a lull, and now we can restock the shelves,” King said.

Amy Dudney, social director at The Conservatory at Keller Town Center, said the group that collected the $600 donation appreciates the Meals on Wheels program and what it brings to seniors.

The Conservatory Traveling Red Hatters are women ages 55 and older who live at the active retirement community. The group goes to lunch once a month wearing the famed red hats and purple outfits as part of the The Red Hat Society, an international society dedicated to reshaping the way women are viewed in today's culture.

In place of the August luncheon, the group held a live auction to raise money for MMOW using donated items and used things people no longer want or need.

King said the gift couldn’t have come at a better time.

She said it is not uncommon for the food pantry to dry up this time of year because not as many donations come in during the summer.

“But the heat of the summer and the coldest part of winter has the greatest impact on the seniors because of utility costs,” she said.

King said the organization delivers to any status, not just indigent or disabled elderly.

“We have a lot of middle class, some are financially secure but they can’t fix their own meals,” she said. “When they can’t fix meals for themselves their world shrinks and isolation becomes an issue.”

King said the less interaction a person has, the greater opportunity for depression.

“When we deliver the meals, they are delivered with a smile and a hug,” she said. “For that little bit of time, that might be the only contact they see.”

King said the meals are more than just for nutritional needs, the interaction during delivery forms a bond between the volunteer and the senior.

“The meals are the ice breaker, they are the entree for the relationship,” King said. “The relationship is what keeps it going on both sides.”

Westlake resident Betty Redding has been delivering meals since 1989.

“It’s very meaningful to be doing this, I enjoy the people I meet,” Redding said.

The volunteer, still active and in her mid ’70s, said another reason she delivers is because she sees the value in the service, which she may need for herself in the future.

“Someday I may need that meal every day, and that communication from someone,” she said. “We all hope we don’t have to depend on other people but at some point in our life we might have to.”

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