In 1969, 14 community churches formed ECHO (Ecumenical Community Helping Others) Meals on Wheels, and started delivering meals at home to those in need. As the organization reaches its 40th anniversary, volunteers want to ensure that neighbors are aware of the services they provide.
In 2007, ECHO prepared and delivered 49,900 meals to clients in the western suburbs, including Geddes, Camillus, Lakeland, Fairmount, Warners, Solvay, Onondaga, Marcellus and Westvale. In servicing these areas, volunteers drove about 40,000 miles last year alone.
As the economy goes from bad to worse, ECHO volunteer and former vice president Ross Maniaci thought it critical to remind residents about the meals on wheels program.
Through the meals on wheels program, hot or frozen meals are available at a deeply discounted rate for the chronically ill, those temporarily indisposed due to accident, illness or surgery, the homebound who wish to improve their diet and to seniors whose live-in relatives are away or are at work.
There are no age or income limitations, as the primary goal of ECHO is to provide hot, nutritious meals to people who otherwise would not have an adequate meal. The only restriction is that clients fill orders for at least one week's worth of meals at a time. Meals are delivered at midday, as requested to the client's home, at the client's requested delivery schedule, be it each day (except Saturday or Sunday), every other day, twice a week or just once a week. The only interruption in service are 6 scheduled holidays and an occasional shut-down due to adverse weather conditions.
When weather conditions do force us to close, the local TV and radio stations broadcast the delivery cancellations. And for such situations, a food pack that containing enough food for two meals, free of charge is provided to clients.