Every Monday morning Fort Wayne resident Lori Black picks up packaged hot meals from Parkview Hospital, loads them in her car and takes a drive. “I started doing this in February of last year,” said Black. “I do it because it helps me give back to the community.” Black is giving back to the community by volunteering about an hour out of her week to pick up and deliver hot meals to residents who participate in the Homebound Meals Program (HBM).
“Sometimes this is the only warm meal they get for the day,” said Black. “I just think what a great way to give back to the elderly because they have given us so much throughout their lives. It’s time to start giving back to them.” We caught up with Black delivering a hot meal to Steve Bade. “I’ve had some issues with knee surgeries,”said Bade ” I’ve had five of them all together and I have trouble getting around and a little trouble standing for too long. My son and daughter make sure I have groceries I can fix myself. I’m widowed once and divorced once and depend on Homebound Meals.”
Barb Umber is the program’s executive director. “We deliver about 200 meals a day Monday through Friday,” said Umber. “We’re funded by foundations. We have one charity event a year that is Tapas and Tinis in May. We only charge what we pay for the meals. If people can afford to pay that which is $5.20 cents, that’s fine. If they can’t we rarely say no. I try to have them pay something even if it’s just a quarter because then they’re a client not a charity.”
Homebound Meals has been serving Fort Wayne since 1971. It does not receive any government funding and anyone with limited mobility can ask to sign up. “I get calls from everyone, from the clients from their families, other elder care services and from the hospitals.”
On the day of our visit Bade received lasagna and broccoli. He said he’s really a meat and potatoes man but truly appreciates every meal that is delivered. “I have a different driver every day of the week,” said Bade. “I love the people,” said Black. “It’s a great organization and it’s just wonderful. I wish I could do it everyday.”