Monday, Jun 18, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Keith Burris


Real change is happening all the time



Ours is a cynical age. And we get discouraged. I hear often, from readers and friends, that nothing seems to change — that collective will seldom seems to lead to action and that even when it does, the action is often ineffective or backfires.

But that’s not always true. Real change and meaningful actions happen all the time.

Take what you might think is a modest example and what its beneficiaries think is a pretty big example — Mobile Meals of Toledo. This organization delivers meals five days a week to people who need our help. These people might be elderly, many are. Or they might be handicapped or suffering from a medical condition that limits or prevents their ability to get out. They might be on dialysis.

Mobile Meals is a lifeline. And a lifeline in more ways than one. Volunteers who deliver these meals also offer human contact, indeed, friendship to those who are shut in. And they help people who want to keep living independently to do that.

One client told a family member, “If these folks are making the effort in all kinds of weather, I will be up, dressed, and ready to greet them with a smile on my face.”

Mobile Meals serves 650 meals five times a week on 37 different routes throughout the city. It has 800 volunteers, about 500 of whom are active at any one time. It has a small staff of about 25 that makes and packages the meals, and a few deliver to routes that cannot be filled by volunteers.

The cost of Mobile Meals is $9.30 a day for two healthy meals. Many people pay the full price, but the billing is on a sliding scale, and folks on Medicaid are kept from hunger by the combination of Medicaid and Mobile Meals.

How’s that for efficacy?

Mobile Meals also packs up 650 weekend meal bags for kids in six Toledo central-city schools. This was a direct response to educators saying some of their students arrived at school hungry on Mondays.

Mobile Meals has one volunteer who has been doing it for 41 years. Another, a man on disability, sometimes delivers two or three routes a day. He wants to give back.

On Wednesday, two Blade colleagues and I helped to deliver one route in Point Place. We met a lovely older lady. I can’t tell you her name, but I will call her Grace because it fits. Her hair was snow white and her skin a luminescent blue and chalk. She said she simply can’t handle the supermarket any more.

The program, she said, is a Godsend to her.

“Thank you for being Mobile Meals,” she said. Grace delivered these meals herself “back when I was working”on her lunch hour. “Now it has come back ’round.”

If you or someone you know needs help getting good regular meals, or if you would like to volunteer, call Mobile Meals of Toledo at 419-255-7806.

Good things that make a difference are happening all the time. Not all are televised.

Keith C. Burris is a columnist for The Blade.

Contact him at: or 419-724-6266.

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