Prescott Meals on Wheels
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Bert Ijams, the executive director of Prescott Meals on Wheels. The city of Prescott is our service area along with some unincorporated areas such as Williamson Valley and Diamond Valley, and we’ve been serving Prescott since 1973. We do three fundamental things. First, we provide hot, nutritious meals Monday through Friday, delivered to approximately 200 households each day. Second, along with that, we do a wellness check and go into the home to see if anything seems outside of the norm and ask them if they’re all right. If there’s an obvious emergency, we call 9-1-1 and stay with them until an ambulance and emergency services arrive. And third, during the meal delivery, we provide some moments of companionship. Statistically, we know that loneliness and isolation lead to a deterioration of quality of life. Combined, those three things allow an individual to stay in their own home, living independently with safety and dignity for as long as possible. I think the ability to stay in their home is critical to these people’s wellbeing. … Our program is driven by volunteers. We have 130 volunteers every month who really make our program possible. … There are two criteria for accessing services, and you can meet one or both. Number one: Can you access food and groceries? Can you drive to the store or is someone available to drive you? Number two: Can you prepare food? Is there any reason you can’t stand at the stove or have limited mobility? Is there any reason that makes it unsafe for you to prepare food? Or is there any other physical reason or is there anything that makes it otherwise unsafe for you to prepare food? It’s important to note that poverty is not a criteria for accessing services.
How can we get involved?
The biggest way to help support is through donations. When we get referrals from, say, the Area Agency on Aging, they’re only able to pay for 40 percent of the meals we provide to the people they refer. That other 60 percent is paid for strictly by donation. It’s just incredible what donations do for us. Donations in any amount help and, remember, there’s the Arizona state tax credit that for every dollar you give you get back up to the threshold. The other way to help is through volunteering. We often have opportunities for volunteers in the kitchen, delivery drivers, the thrift store, and the dining room. Our volunteers and donors are our greatest asset because giving of someone’s time and resources is a tremendous gift. One area we do need help is backup drivers. There is a fingerprint and background check needed for that. We welcome anyone who wants to volunteer to contact us.
Find out more about Prescott Meals on Wheels at PrescottMealsOnWheels.Com or at 1280 E. Rosser, Monday through Friday, 928-445-7630, ext. 602, PMOW@CableOne.Net.
Prescott People Who Care
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Fritzi Mevis, executive director of Prescott People Who Care. We’re a volunteer organization that’s starting our 25th year in the Quad Cities. We help people who are physically unable to drive or maybe shouldn’t be driving. We help with one-on-one assistance to get to the doctor or any kind of healthcare. We take them grocery shopping or help them shop for groceries, or even grocery shop for them. We als0 help with paperwork. Right now, we’ve got about 300 neighbors — that’s what we call clients — across the three program offices in Prescott, Chino Valley, and Prescott Valley/Dewey-Humboldt ranging from age 18 to 106. Half or more of the people we serve are visually impaired. That’s the No. 1 reason they ask for help. All of our volunteers do things one-on-one with our neighbors. This becomes just as much about that relationship, that connection, as anything else. Many of the people we serve don’t have family support or friends to help with these kind of things.
How can we get involved?
The best way to get involved is to call the main office and let us know you’re interested. All we have to do is determine where you live — whether that’s Prescott, Chino Valley, or P.V. — and connect you with an informational meeting in that area. We also direct people to our website so they can get an idea about us, too, but those informational meetings are the primary way to get involved. Our volunteers are our hearts and our hands. They’re wonderful, and we couldn’t do this without them. People don’t have to commit to certain hours. We’re very flexible with time. There’s no obligation if you come to an informational meeting to find out more. It’s a chance to learn about the program and take an application home. If you want to volunteer, there’s an orientation and we do some reference and background checks, obviously. … We always need more volunteers. There are an unlimited number of people in the community who need our assistance and a limited number of people who can give that assistance. You have to limit what we do, but we try to do as much as we can. We’re always open to donations, too, and I’d remind people that the 2016 tax credit is available through April 15. As far as accessing services go, I’d point out that Prescott People Who Care is for people that aren’t able to physically drive. It’s not because someone can’t afford a car — that’s not what we do. Safe driving, that’s the important thing. We don’t qualify people by income. It’s open to everyone.
Find out more about Prescott People Who Care at PeopleWhoCareAZ.Com or at 505 W. Gurley St., 928-445-2480.
In these features, 5enses highlights individuals and organizations in the community that are making a difference. They were inspired by Alert Reader Aarti Pani and community leaders Sadira DeMarino and John Duncan. Thank you, Aarti, Sadira, and John.
Want to nominate a do-gooder or a doing-gooder group? Email tips to 5ensesMag@Gmail.Com with “Do Good” in the subject line. Don’t like who we feature? Do some good deeds or start your own group and tell us about it. Remember, our community is whatever we make it.