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Group provides hot meals to older people in Southern Virginia

By Justin Ward, jward@wdbj7.com
Published On: Jan 07 2014 07:22:56 PM EST
Updated On: Jan 07 2014 07:39:11 PM EST

Meals on Wheels on a cold day in Martinsville

HENRY CO., Va. -

"Hi! How are you today?" said Lakesha Schmidt as she knocked on a door to hand over a warm meal.

That simple greeting is the highlight of many older people's day.

Of course, it helps to have a handful of hot food when you knock on their door. Schmidt is going on her fourth year delivering meals, but today is different.

"It's very cold. This is the coldest day that I've delivered meals since I've been delivering meals," Schmidt said.

A portion of her job is outside, but she keeps a smile on her face and keeps knocking.

She is with the Southern Area Agency on Aging which provides services like hot meals to older people in four counties and two cities.

The Meals on Wheels program is one of its most popular especially when it's freezing outside.

Tuesday Schmidt let us follow along, door to door, through the back roads and gravel streets of Henry County.

About 16 people like Margaret McDuffie are on this route.

"It's great. I think it helps a whole lot. It gives us something to look forward to and that we don't have to struggle around and get it for ourselves," McDuffie said.

The free meal allows McDuffie to stay home and spend less on groceries.
Tuesday the meal comes from a restaurant in uptown Martinsville.

"We have a hot turkey sandwich, mashed potatoes, peas," Schmidt said.

When it's freezing this trip is more than just a hand-off of a meal, it's a check up to see if the people are warm.

But it's always been about a friendship for Schmidt.

"To me it's knowing that someone actually needs this meal someone else who maybe doesn't have the ability to get out and get them something to eat or prepare their own meals. They're dependent on this, and this may be the only thing they eat during the day," Schmidt said. 

To learn more about the Agency on Aging and to find one in your area, CLICK HERE.