Thursday, February 11, 2010

Meals on Wheels in the Pittsburgh Snow

Back in the early 90s (the 1990's), my time volunteering as a runner for a Meals on Wheels program in Oregon helped inspire my passion for gerontology and what has come to be known as "aging in community."  

Today, six days into a prolonged snow event in Pittsburgh, I engaged the 21st century and volunteered to deliver Meals on Wheels in the East End...Lincoln-Larimer to be specific.   I partnered with a regular volunteer named Nick who knew the route.  His regular partner didn't have a 4-wheel drive vehicle.  I was able to borrow one from my sister and brother-in-law. 

I did the driving, and Nick did the work of running the meals through the slush ridges and up snow covered steps. 

Below is the old Lemington Center nursing home, closed since 2005 (we delivered to the Eva P. Mitchell residence for independent elders, next door). 
When I was working at Brown and my colleagues and I published an article in Millbank Quarterly about the plight of nursing homes like the Lemington Center ("Driven to Tiers: Socioeconomic and Racial Disparities in the Quality of Nursing Home Care" - full article available for free at link), we received an e-mail from the Lemington administrator saying she was using it to describe their situation to all who would listen.

I found this interesting history of Lemington Elder Care Services and its founding on July 4, 1883 on the African American Registry.  
Parking chair at Eva P. Mitchell residence.

We delivered 17 meals to 14 different residences, took about an hour and a half.   East End Cooperative Ministries is a good place to volunteer. 

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