Obtaining a home-delivered meal outside of Allegheny County can seem to be a cumbersome endeavor to the uninitiated.
“There’s a variety of sources out there and it might not be as easy as looking in the phone book,” acknowledged Beth Harold, director of the Butler County Area Agency on Aging.
But Ms. Harold and her counterparts at Area Agency on Aging offices throughout the Pittsburgh metropolitan region are doing what they can to make the task easier.
An intake and referral employee at Ms. Harold’s office can be reached by calling 724-282-3008. Following an assessment, a determination is made as to whether the person qualifies for the home-delivered meals provided through the county or whether the person should be referred to a Meals on Wheels kitchen.
Because Meals on Wheels sites operate independently from each other and from the county in which they’re located, an Area Agency on Aging list of such kitchens is ever changing. Ms. Harold said her office does its best to keep the list updated.
It’s a similar setup at the Southwestern Pennsylvania Area Agency on Aging, which serves Washington, Fayette and Greene counties, director Leslie Grenfell said.
Residents of those counties who want to find out what service is available can call 1-800-734-9603. “We partner with a variety of providers and, depending on the specific geographic area, there can be some parts of the more rural areas that are difficult to serve but we do our best, even if it means getting a frozen meal out,” Ms. Grenfell said. “Everyone is really on an individual basis.”
She said her agency contracts with several meal providers and attempts to keep a resource list of Meals on Wheels sites. “We look at what the best option is for the customer,” she said.
Dirk Matson, interim director of the Westmoreland County Area Agency on Aging, advises residents to call the referral number at 1-800-442-8000. Home-delivered meals there are provided by subcontractors as well as nonprofits like Meals on Wheels.
In Beaver County, there is an umbrella organization for Meals on Wheels: Lutheran Service Society in Bellevue. That agency can be reached at 412-734-9330. Also, Beaver County Area Agency on Aging gives participants in their care-managed program access to home-delivered meals that are government funded, director Beverly Sullivan said. Her agency can be reached at 724-847-2262.
“We encourage people to seek out the resources that are available to them,” Ms. Sullivan said. “There’s definite value. [Home-delivered meals] are among the services that can assist a person to remain in their home. It can be the difference between staying at home and living in an institution setting.”
Karen Kane: firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-772-9180.
Karen Kane: email@example.com or at 724-772-9180.