Joe Covington and his wife Sheila Covington, both 83, have been Carson City Meals on Wheels clients for almost five years. Covington said both of them love the program, but Sheila Covington said she worries about the funding.
“It will be a shame if it gets taken away,” she said.
Carson City Meals on Wheels is partially funded by the Older Americans Act of 1972, which established a national nutrition program for seniors 60 years and older. Nationwide, 12,000 people a day turn 60; and 32 percent of the nation’s seniors live in poverty.
Courtney Warner, executive director of the Senior Center, said the center receives about half of the necessary funding it needs to provide the more than 90,000 meals that will be delivered by the program to Carson City seniors this year.
“We are forced to find other sources of funding for the Meals on Wheels program to offset the deficit of more than $182,000 we face each year,” Warner said. “This year, we are hosting Carson’s Got Talent, a regional talent competition, to bring awareness to our program and raise money for our seniors.”
Covington said Meals on Wheels provides one nutritious meal a day for each of them and leaves frozen meals to cover weekends and holidays. Sheila Covington said she likes the variety Meals on Wheels provides, the salads and soups, particularly the clam chowder. She said she also likes fish and is especially fond of the chile relleno.
“We’ve never had a bad meal,” Covington said, adding he likes the chicken best.
Joe and Sheila Covington have lived and worked in the area for 33 years, plus an earlier 10-year stint with a stay in California in between. They lost their home on five acres in Stagecoach after Joe was forced to retire from his job at a business factoring company at 67 and the recession hit and have lived in their current apartment for the past six years.
Before retiring in the 1980s, Sheila Covington was a licensed practical nurse at the old Carson City hospital. It’s the second marriage for both of them, and between them they have six children and 15 grandchildren as well as lots of great-grandchildren.
“I keep all their pictures on my computer, and look at them every day,” Covington said.
Both Covingtons are appreciative of the Meals on Wheels delivery people.
“Our young man comes by on the dot at 9:45 a.m. unless the weather’s bad,” Joe said. “All our delivery folks have been cheerful and friendly, never a bad attitude.”
Both are disabled now, and largely homebound, both using scooters to get around, Covington mostly using his outdoors since he’s on oxygen and can’t walk far.
“Meals on Wheels is a Godsend,” Covington said. “I had to give up driving when my eyesight got bad.”
Covington said they’re both grateful for all the support they get in Carson City. They use the Jump Around Carson (JAC) bus to go to the Senior Center and the Library, and also to do some light shopping. They receive a monthly food delivery from the Ron Wood Family Resource Center’s food bank and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program provides transportation for doctor visits and other medical needs.
“Meals on Wheels is terrific,” Covington said. “It’s the nicest thing that has happened to us in years.”
For information on Carson City Meals on Wheels and other available senior services, call the Carson City Senior Center at 775-883-0703. For information on Carson’s Got Talent, visit www.carsonsgottalent.com.