You might not know it, but ECHO Meals on Wheels is a staple in the western suburbs of Syracuse. Last year, 192 ECHO volunteers delivered 40,000 meals to 250 residents of Geddes, Camillus, Lakeland, Fairmount, Warners, Solvay, Onondaga, Marcellus, Elbridge and Westvale.
"A lot of people don't know about us, or what we do, or have misconceptions," said ECHO board President and volunteer Lori Gulgert. "They think you have to qualify in some way, by income, by age or whatever, and you do not."
For those in need, all it takes to have low-priced meals delivered to your home is a phone call to the ECHO Meals on Wheels office at 4600 West Genesee St. ECHO (Ecumenical Community Helping Others) delivers to the chronically ill; those temporarily indisposed due to accident, illness or surgery; homebound residents who wish to improve their diet; senior citizens whose live-in relatives are away or at work; and those people that otherwise would not have an adequate meal.
March is National Meals on Wheels Awareness Month. Today, mayors and town supervisors across the country participated in Mayors for Meals, assisting volunteers and staff on their regular routes. Marcellus Mayor John Curtin, Camillus Town Supervisor Mary Ann Coogan and Geddes Town Supervisor Manny Falcone contributed to the local effort, helping deliver a good portion of the day's 140 meals.
"This day is set aside for the mayors and other town dignitaries to participate with Meals on Wheels in delivering meals to bring attention to the need to end senior hunger," Gulgert said.
She said it's great for communities to see that their elected officials "are interested in the demographics of the area they serve and recognize the need for organizations like this."
More than 1,000 mayors and supervisors participated in last year's effort.
"For us it's wonderful, because it gives us a little attention," Gulgert said.