Matthew and Gloria Cendoma of Hughesville count on Meals on Wheels for more than just a meal every weekday. Due to a combination of health conditions, Matthew, 83, and Gloria, 84, are homebound and unable to prepare their own meals.
"I don't know what we would do without them," said Matthew. "The volunteers are just wonderful and the meals are very good."
A team of about 450 volunteers prepare and deliver more than 75,000 meals a year in Lycoming County to people such as the Cendomas. These volunteers drive more than 167,000 miles serving more than 650 program participants and can mean the world to the people receiving the meals.
Matthew and Gloria Cendoma of Hughesville count on Meals on Wheels for more than just a meal every weekday.
"We have had the pleasure of getting to know many of the volunteer drivers and they are very kind," said Matthew. "Some will come in and visit a little, or sing a song to Gloria. If we are not home, the volunteer will leave the meals in the refrigerator and lock the door on the way out. They are very good to us and we appreciate it tremendously," explained Matthew.
Matthew and Gloria each receive one meal every weekday. For other meals, Matthew will make cereal for breakfast and a can of soup for lunch or dinner.
"The volunteers not only bring us a meal, but they bring us a little bit of the outside world when they stop in," Matthew added. "They tell us what is going on in the community and if there is any news."
With just a day's notice, the Cendomas are able to use STEP bus transportation to get to medical appointments and other necessities such as groceries.
"The STEP bus is a blessing. We can no longer drive and because of STEP transportation and Meals on Wheels, we are able to remain in our own home. We go out about once every two weeks to buy groceries."
Matthew and Gloria have been happily married 62 years and are the parents of four children.
"They are all givers," Matthew said proudly. "One is the director of development for a cancer foundation in New York City, one is a registered nurse, one is a social worker for the elderly, and one is piano teacher."
The Cendomas have four grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
"We were born and lived in Williamsport most of our lives, we moved to Hughesville 10 years ago," said Matthew. "We love it here and we are grateful for these programs funded by United Way that allow us to stay in our own home."
Meals on Wheels and congregate meals at senior centers are two of the more than 40 human service programs funded by Lycoming County United Way. Through the annual funds distribution process determined by community volunteers, United Way awarded nearly $18,000 to the Office of Aging for these meals.
"Without United Way funding, we would have to reduce the number of meals we are able to provide," said Fred Shrimp, director, STEP Office of Aging. "The Meals on Wheels program ensures proper nutrition for our homebound seniors as well as a contact that can pass on special requests or needs that the Office of Aging can help with," Shrimp said.
"United Way allocations are based on community needs and program outcomes," said United Way executive director Scott N. Lowery. "The Meals on Wheels program has proven to meet an important community need and Office of Aging does an efficient and effective job running the program. We strive to invest our donors' contributions in programs that have the biggest impact on our neighbors here in Lycoming County."
For more information on Lycoming County United Way, call 323-9448 or visit www.lcuw.org. For more information on the Office of Aging, call 323-3096.