Why this is a Must-Read:
Learn about the home delivered meals program and how two social service organizations are working together to improve quality of life for the people they serve.

HAWLEY - One of the weekly routes of the home-delivered meal program in Wayne County is being given a hand by clients from Devereux Pocono Advanced Behavioral Health, based in Newfoundland.

Starting Thursday, November 16, a group from Devereux comes to the Hawley Senior Center to pick up the prepared meals, to deliver the food to 22 households in the greater Hawley area of Wayne County.

First time in Wayne

On Thursday, Ernie Seagraves, who normally does the route, was showing Devereux staff member Dori Christodra and the three volunteers from Devereux’s clientel, Ann, Christine and Skyler, how the record keeping is done and the large bags of wrapped meals which have already been prepared and delivered to Hawley for distribution.

Cindy Cartwright, Admissions Specialist at Devereaux, said that they have been assisting Pike County Area Agency on Aging with home delivered meals for about two years, and the counterpart agency in Monroe County for approximately eight or nine years. This was the first time they have extended a helping hand in this way, in Wayne.

Devereux volunteers also help the Wayne County Area Agency on Aging by bagging food at the Food Pantry in Honesdale, and assisting at the Park Street Cafe´where they learn to use commercial kitchen equipment.

Many benefits

Cartwright said that these ways of helping- including going around to homes to hand out meals, is a benefit to their clients, who have special needs. She noted that they learn the importance of giving back to the community, and to strengthen their social skills.

Seeing homebound residents, who benefit from the county home delivered meal service, is also something some of the clients can relate, she said. Some of them have also experienced limitations in being able to do for themselves and have needed a helping hand. By participating in a rewarding program such as this, they have opportunity to do the same for someone else.

In turn, the County also benefits by having another day’s route covered in a particular area. On the first day, the Devereux staffer and volunteers were going to follow Seagraves on his route to learn where they will be going and how it is done.

She said that they have 36 clients who plan to take turns and participate; three volunteers will be picked each week to travel with a Devereux staff person giving out meals.

Devereux Pocono Advanced Behavioral Health provides community based programs and services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, autism, mental health disorders and challenging behaviors. They have programs that assist children, adolescents and adults. Those assisting with the home delivered meals service are adults.

Clients have expressed enthusiasm for the opportunity, Cartwright said.

Mary Ursich, who began her role this week as Executive Director for the Wayne County Area Agency on Aging, commented, “We’re very happy to work with Devereux and we really appreciate it.”  Their drivers that work out of the Hawley Senior Center are all volunteer, so she said Devereaux’s offer to take a route is a big help. Volunteers, she said, enable the County to provide this service at that location.
She said that Devereaux volunteers do a “really great job” for the County at the Park Street Cafe´.

The Cafe´ is open to the public, Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Home delivered meals

Wayne County Area Agency on Aging provides home delivered meals to older adults who are temporarily or permanently confined to their homes. To be eligible for this service the older adult must be unable to prepare a meal for him/herself and have no one else in the home who can do so.

An Agency Care Manager will assess the needs of the older adult and will determine whether he/she is eligible for home delivered meal services. Once approved for services, the Care Manager will arrange for five nutritious meals to be delivered to the consumer’s home each week.

The food is cooked and packaged at the Honesdale Senior Center. Drivers distribute the meals from both the Honesdale and Hawley centers.

Hot meals are delivered five days a week within a certain radius of Honesdale and Hawley, and a supply of frozen meals are delivered once a week to other locations within the county. Urisch said that they presently serve 340 households within Wayne County.

To learn more:

For more information about Devereux Pocono Advanced Behavioral Health, call 570-839-6147 or visit devereauxpocono.org. For additional information about home delivered meals in Wayne County, please contact the Area Agency on Aging Intake Worker at 570-253-4262. See also aging.co.wayne.pa.us.