Sheldon Meals on Wheels delivery

Volunteer Ken Doughty from Village Northwest Unlimited sets a box full of sack lunches from Hy-Vee into a van for a Meals on Wheels delivery run. He and other volunteers from the Village have assisted with Meals on Wheels deliveries every Monday in October.

SHELDON—Meals on Wheels has been rolling out low-cost meals to Sheldon residents in need for the better part of four decades.

The volunteer organization partners with churches and other organizations in town to make deliveries throughout the week to recipients who have a doctor referral that identifies their need for a meal at home.

“We’ve had wonderful volunteers. The churches have done it for years and years and years and years,” said Jewel Kruse-Doely, volunteer coordinator for Meals on Wheels.

Volunteers pick up the prepared meals from Sheldon’s Hy-Vee and then make the deliveries to recipients, who only pay $4 per meal.

Kruse-Doely explained that United Way and Sanford Sheldon Medical Center subsidize the cost for the meals, as does money Meals on Wheels receives from the Sheldon United Fund.

“We have kept the rate lower for the recipients, but we still have to pay the provider of the food a marketable cost,” she said. “It’s a fair cost for them, so they aren’t losing money.”

Kruse-Doely has helped coordinate Sheldon’s Meals on Wheels program for about 36 years but said the organization has been around longer than that. It also has underwent changes in what kind of food is delivered to recipients.

“When I came on board, the hospital was making the meals and then we could custom design the meals for individuals like if they are diabetic or whatever,” she said.

Changes to Medicare policy eventually barred hospitals from making meals for outside delivery, so Kruse-Doely said Meals on Wheels turned to Hy-Vee as its vendor.

The churches take turns each month volunteering for the meal deliveries, although other organizations such as Prairie Queen Kiwanis and Village Northwest Unlimited also have assisted with Meals on Wheels.

Kruse-Doely said the Village delivered every Monday of October this year as part of a service project for some of its workers.

The community program instructor for the Village, Lori Cutsinger, along with Julie Brink and Ken Doughty from the Village, made their final Monday delivery for the month of October.

Cutsinger said they would be making nine deliveries at about noon that day and that the Village would continue to make Monday deliveries in November.