The ranks of Alameda County seniors are growing rapidly — population experts call it “the silver surge.” Lots of these folks are stuck at home, and can’t shop or cook for themselves anymore. That’s where Faye Combs and Janine Hudak of Tri-City Meals on Wheels step in, hustling a team of about seventy volunteers and three city employees five days a week to deliver hot meals to more than two hundred homebound seniors in Berkeley, Albany, and Emeryville. The volunteers ladle the hot and cold servings into aluminum trays, seal ’em up tight, and whisk ’em out the door. Drivers like Jane Dang are more than just a daily delivery to their clients; they’re also a friendly face. The warm smiles and five-minute chat — “How’s your daughter? Your granddaughter doing alright in college?” — are probably as important as the meal itself. Some volunteers bring fresh flowers, and Virginia Bakery gives the seniors a special cupcake on their birthdays. Most of all, for $3 a day (less if the seniors can’t afford it), Meals on Wheels lets our oldest generation know that it’s not forgotten.
Meals on Wheels