Delivering a meal delivers peace of mind | NevadaAppeal.com

Delivering a meal delivers peace of mind

Rhonda Costa-Landers
Appeal Staff Writer

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Meals on Wheels driver Tom Aria brings Virginia Ferguson her daily meal at her mobile home on Thursday.

Tom Aria is 66 years old and doesn’t mind doing some tedious work.

Although he retired three years ago from United Engine in Carson City as a mold maker, Aria listened to the request of his wife Elaine, and contacted the Carson City Senior Citizens Center about a position they needed filled.

“Elaine said they needed a driver real bad for their Meals on Wheels program, so I tried it,” Aria said. Nearly two years later, he is still driving 45-50 miles a day, five days a week, delivering up to 96 meals a day.

He said he didn’t do it for the pay. He’s making similar wages he did in the 1960s.

“It’s not about the money,” he said shaking his head.

“I’ve learned there are people out there who can’t cook for themselves and they depend on this meal.”

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Aria starts his day at 9 a.m. in the kitchen of the senior center, prepping the food containers and loading the Dodge delivery truck. On average he’s out until 2:30 p.m.

“It depends on what day of the week it is and what we’re delivering. On Mondays, for those who have space, we deliver a half-gallon of milk to each client. That extra weight kind of slows me down.”

The job does have a downfall for Aria. He has had 30 clients on his route die over the past two years.

“I’ve only found one person deceased when I delivered,” he said. “And he gave me fair warning. He said his doctor told him he had only three to six weeks to live so he just might be dead one day soon.

“I found him a few days later.”

Aria said most of the people he has contact with have a good sense of humor and are happy to see him.

“There are some who cuss or are just grumpy, but that’s OK.”

And there’s the traffic.

“It’s a pain to deal with every day, stop and go, especially in the construction areas and the big trucks driving around.

“Some of the clients live close together, others are out across the river. I average 65 deliveries, but we can have up to 96.”

Tom and Elaine have been married 27 years. Together they have six children and one grandchild. Away from work, Tom enjoys boating.

“I have a 15-foot fishing boat. I go here and there to go fishing.”

Aria would like to let the community know if they can do something to help out a senior, please do it.

“Most of the seniors we go to don’t have family,” he said. “They’re on their own.

“And trying to get through the day in this heat is awful. So if they can find a way to help others, please call the senior center and ask.”

The Carson City Senior Citizens Center is at 911 Beverly Drive. The phone number is 883-0703.

n Contact reporter Rhonda Costa-Landers at rcosta-landers@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1223.

You Can Help

WHAT: Meals on Wheels

WHERE: Carson City Senior Citizens Center, 911 Beverly Drive, Carson City, 89706

CALL: 883-0703