FLORENCE — For many homebound and older residents in northwest Alabama, food delivered by Meals on Wheels is the only hot meal of the day.
“Very few of the clients we deliver to have people coming in and helping them out,” said Tammy McDaniel, the director of Community Action Agency of Northwest Alabama, which oversees the Meals on Wheels program. “So, without Meals on Wheels, these people might not get any hot meals.”
McDaniel said the program, which is based in Florence, provides meals five days a week for as many as 174 people in Colbert, Lauderdale and Franklin counties.
Volunteers from throughout the region deliver the meals to clients, McDaniel said. She said the program has been operating in Colbert and Lauderdale for 30 years.
“We started delivering in Franklin County in 1999,” she said.
The program relies on donations and funding to provide the meals free to recipients.
Recently, the program received a grant of more than $1,420 from Northwest Alabama Resource Conservation and Development Council.
Heath King, program coordinator with the council, said the money will provide 330 meals for the program’s clients in northwest Alabama.
“Even though the United States is the most prosperous nation in the world, there are still people in our communities, both young and old, (who) deal with hunger,” King said when the grant was awarded.
“Anything RC&D can do to help feed those in our communities that are in need and cannot feed themselves, we will try to do,” said Roger Hayes, chairman of the RC&D council.
McDaniel said receiving money is a big help to the program. She said the program provides lunch to its clients and a frozen meal for clients to have for the weekend.
“The weekend meals alone cost us $55,000,” she said. “There have been times when we have struggled.”
She said the program continues to rely on donations and grants.
“We have applied for United Way for an increase in our funding. Whether we get that or not depends on how their donations are,” McDaniel said. “We do all we can to help our clients, because without Meals on Wheels, they might be doing without.”
For more information on Meals or Wheels, go to caan.org. or call 256-766-4330.
Tom Smith can be reached at 256-740-5757 or tom.smith@TimesDaily.com.