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Volunteers can assist area seniors

About 20 Chilton County senior citizens benefit from the Meals on Wheels program funded through the Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging (M4A). But nearly 80 others are on a waiting list for meals due to the lack of funding.

“We have more than 400 people in our area on a waiting list, 79 of which are in Chilton County,” said Debbie Battles, nutrition coordinator for M4A, which serves five counties including Chilton, Shelby, Blount, Walker and St. Clair. “We have to wait for either a slot to open or funding to come in.”

Battles explained that M4A is allotted a certain amount of funding for each county through the Alabama Department of Senior Services, in addition to local funds. But there are ways people can help out.

Through a program called Hearts for the Hungry, individuals may sponsor a senior for $82.10 per month. This amount will provide one hot, nutritious meal per day for five days a week.

Eligibility is determined by age (60 and older), and the person must be homebound. There is no income limit.

Although local participation is up slightly from last year, the need is still great, said Clanton Senior Center Manager Anita Aldridge.

Aldridge said churches can volunteer to deliver meals; currently, eight local churches assist with Meals on Wheels. Any church groups that wish to volunteer for next year must do so before October 2010.

Other needs at the Clanton Senior Center include increased participation and funds for activities.

“We have no funds for arts and crafts and things like that, and we don’t have funds for local field trips,” Aldridge said.

For more information, call Battles at (866) 570-2998 or Aldridge at 755-3248.