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Skyrocketing costs hit Meals on Wheels hard

MERRIMACK – The local agency that’s delivered “essential, nutritious food and a friendly smile” to elderly and disabled folks for more than 40 years has hit a critical economic juncture.

A combination of increased costs and expanding need – the result of the COVID-19 virus threat – has forced representatives of Merrimack-based Meals on Wheels to make a public appeal for funds “so we can continue to meet (clients’) fundamental needs in this most challenging and difficult time.”

Meals on Wheels, a program of St. Joseph Community Services, is up against “a critical escalation in costs of food and services,” the result, representatives said, of increased production and delivery costs.

“These costs are over and above our usual costs,” they wrote in their appeal.

To make a donation, go to www.mealsonwheelsnh.org/donate-form.

Anyone interested in volunteering over the next several weeks to load and deliver meals can contact the agency at 424-9967 or meals@sjcsinc.org.

Much of the population that Meals on Wheels serves already deals with “hunger, food insecurity and isolation … provision of meals is not a luxury (but) an absolute necessity for them,” the representatives wrote.

Through next week, the program will be providing a two-week supply of shelf-stable, and frozen, meals to its roughly 16,000 Hillsborough County clients, at a cost of about $60,000.

They will also deliver food “care packages” for their “community diners,” who visited various community sites for meals – until they closed due to the virus threat.

Currently, the representatives wrote, Meals on Wheels staff, drivers and volunteers “are hard at work organizing a complex process to secure, store, and deliver meals by the thousands as soon as possible.”

Dean Shalhoup may be reached at 594-1256 or dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com.

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