Watching the news tonight on WSTM TV Jim Kenyon told us that the Oswego County Opportunities (OCO) has a problem continuing the delivery of meals outside the more populated areas of the county for the Meals on Wheels Program for home bound persons and such who reside in the more remote rural areas of the county in upstate New York adjoining Lake Ontario. Good reporting from Jim as usual.
Factors affecting the situation cited fuel and food costs and the inability of getting the food to persons that live off the beaten path - especially during the heavy lake effect winter storms that frequently whip up on short notice. These storms can bring up to 8 feet of snow in just one day!
So, if you are home bound and your volunteer meals on wheels person cannot make it for a few days....what do you do?
Since we have had some direct experience with this very agency a few years back dealing with the production and safe delivery of these meals, we feel informed enough to at least comment and offer a suggestion.
MRE's....Meals Ready to Eat. Why Not?
If you can't afford to deliver the goods because of fuel costs on a daily basis then deliver them by UPS or on a bi-weekly or monthly basis. Fuel savings are realized. The people you are trying to keep from starving will have nourishing food (it works well for soldiers and campers - we have tested plenty of them - they are good!) and you can do this for the cost of about $5-6 retail which means buying in bulk will cost substantially less.
No prep costs, heating costs or labor costs - auto/liability insurance costs might be cut. Workers Compensation costs will be lower because you reduced the exposures for workers slipping and falling trying to lift the heavy coolers of food and trudging through the snow/ice. Oswego is notorious for snow and ice. Let them continue to deliver food in the more populated areas.
We can appreciate the effort and dedication that goes into this fine work. as our dad did this volunteer work for years.
So, here might be the best part....the MRE's are already in Oswego County. Our good friend and sponsor of the free ICE Stickers and Cards at CampingSurvival.com, Tom Sciacca is located right in Fulton, NY.
Tom can supply the MRE's, the money stays in the county and the people continue to eat and survive. The food lasts for 5-10 years if stored properly and there is a wide range of meals. You can see some of the civilian MRE's at www.campingsurvival.com
While some folks may have some dietary restrictions and such....for the most part a majority of the people can use these - it sure beats starving? One suggestion was to offer frozen foods to people but that also presents a storage and energy problem in itself. You have to heat them, use electricity to run the refrigerator and if the power goes out...there goes your food or maybe your ability to heat them. MRE's are self heating.... and they come 12 to a case. You can also purchase the component main MRE meals seperately without all the extras.
There are plenty of MRE's out there. Communities should continue to pull together and seek out realistic, common sense answers and not always look to and wait for government to solve the problems - as you can tell we try to promote independence as much as realistically possible.
The folks at OCO do a great job especially with those ever shrinking budgets.
To put some skin in the game - ICE4SAFETY.COM will donate the first two cases of MRE's if the county steps up to the plate to do this - before winter arrives!
This could also be a solution for other meal providers facing an unexpected crunch in service like this. The cost might be negligible in comparison...
Read the WSTM story or watch the video:
Added 3Nov 08
In recognition of National Family Caregivers Month, agencies and family members may also want to think about this unique option to relieve some of the burden for those providing constant care for relatives who might be able to resort to using these meals if the caregiver is taken ill or unable to travel in a snowstorm - being prepared for these occurrences is a good idea. The variety of meals available is quite surprising and their flavor quality is very good.