Valentine’s Day treats delight Meals on Wheels recipients

  • Meals on Wheels volunteer Pinnie Sears with valentines made by school children that will be delivered with meals. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Bryanna Nadeau orgaizes meals for delivery at Meals on Wheels at LifePath in Erving. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Valentines made by school children that will be delivered with meals in Erving at LifePath. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Hot meals are prepared for Meals on Wheels at LifePath in Erving. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 2/14/2022 1:56:43 PM
Modified: 2/14/2022 1:54:49 PM

ERVING – Meals on Wheels drivers packed up their cars at the Retherm Center on Monday morning, ready to head out for their regular delivery route.

Each delivery, however, came with a special Valentine’s Day treat packed inside.

“There was a wonderful cross-stitch bear – the cutest little thing – and a great big heart (card),” said Barbara Rosenau, a resident of Montague, who received her meal delivery Monday morning. “They both were very nice.”

Thanks to donations from Northfield Elementary School, the Arbors Assisted Living at Greenfield, the Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School before and after school programs, the Newton Street School in Greenfield, Viability Inc., and the Petersham Montessori School, 575 members of the community will receive Valentine’s Day cards as part of the regular Meals on Wheels delivery.

“Normally we reach out, but there were a couple schools that reached out early to us” said Carol Foote, director of Outreach and Development at LifePath, the nonprofit that runs the Meals on Wheels program for Franklin County. “I think it really gives them a sense of giving back to the community … and being able to make a difference in what feels like a small way, but we know it can have big effects on the people who receive them.”

The Valentine’s Day “Love Letters campaign” has been a tradition at LifePath since 2015, according to Lynne Feldman, director of Community Services. It began as a campaign started by a national volunteering organization, DoSomething.org.

“Intergenerational activities have been shown to benefit everyone involved,” Feldman wrote in an email. “We believe this is a community whose residents are more than ready to support one another, and we seize every opportunity we can to facilitate that support.”

Amelia Sirum of Montague said it was a nice surprise to receive a heart-shaped card with the message, ‘I hope you have a great day.’ The card was signed by a student named Abby, she said.

Rosenau and Sirum’s driver, Pinnie Sears, have been delivering meals for about four years.

When Sears retired from her job at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, her friend Jane Severance — who happens to be the director of LifePath’s Nutrition Program – said they needed drivers, Sears recalled. Her neighbor, too, encouraged her to get involved. Initially, Sears wasn’t sure it was the right job for her; in fact, she was surprised to have eventually found such a liking for the job.

“I love this job,” Sears said. “It’s a wonderful expression of giving back to people I’ve known all my life. … We can stay with our people for a few minutes; it’s not like we can spend the whole afternoon ... but it’s a little more than just giving the food and walking away.”

And the extra treat at Valentine’s Day, she said, is something she knows her clients treasure.

“They love these kids’ Valentines,” Sears said.

Sears said if she can spend a few minutes each day with her clients and make them feel valued, “I feel like I’ve done my job.”

“We love our clients every day, not just on Valentine’s Day,” she said.

Anyone interested in becoming a driver for Meals on Wheels is encouraged to reach out to LifePath at 413-773-5555.

Reporter Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne


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