Letter to the editor: Meals on Wheels staff reduction might hurt service

My husband and I have been volunteer drivers for Meals on Wheels for going on 10 years. We do Route 3 out of Bristol, which covers the western side of the town, and all of Lincoln and Starksboro. We have worked with Tracy Corbett, MOW’s Addison County coordinator for the entire time, and we are very displeased by the manner in which Age Well “eliminated” Tracy’s position. 
About 9 years ago I was also a volunteer at ACHS, now Homeward Bound, when Jackie Rose, then the shelter’s executive director, told me that she and Tracy were looking for a way to provide pet food on a monthly basis to those long term MOW clients who signed up. A couple, who were also volunteers at the shelter, volunteered to entirely fund this program. Tracy passed out forms to all her long term MOW clients to find out what kind of pets folks had, how many and even what the pets ate. The donors would buy the food and bring it to the shelter each month. 
Since I was both a MOW volunteer and a shelter volunteer, I would pick up the food each month and my husband and I would deliver it to the folks on the Bristol routes who’d requested it when we did our regular MOW deliveries. Tracy, herself, would pick up and deliver each month’s order to the other MOW pick-up sites, including Middlebury and Vergennes, and either she or a MOW volunteer would deliver the pet food.
After the first year of the program, the couple funding the pet food program moved. Jackie Rose and Tracy wanted to continue the program, so Jackie made a successful effort to fund the program on a yearly basis by obtaining grants or sending out email blasts to regular donors. While CVAA, which MOW was a part of, knew of the program’s existence, Tracy and Homeward Bound were the ones who ran it. Tracy kept track of who was receiving the pet food, and this could change if a MOW client moved, or died, or if they got another pet, or their pet(s) died.  
Homeward Bound’s current executive director, Jess Danyow, has continued to oversee that the program is funded, as it is very popular with the public. (Check it out on the Homeward Bound website under Programs and Services; Meals on Wheels-Pets Eat Too! Program) HB’s very capable administrative assistant orders the pet food from Agway each month, and then labels it, so the volunteers, like my husband and myself can pick up the pet food prior to our regular MOW delivery day and deliver it. (I email her directly if there are any changes to my order.)
Hopefully this worthy and well liked program can continue but the entire responsibility for running it successfully will now fall to Homeward Bound, as I doubt that the powers-that-be will want to give it little more than lip service. 
Marcia Liotard
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