Maureen Dooley, chair of the board of directors for the Redmond Senior Center, opened the Annual Meeting with the comment, “It’s so lovely to see all of your lovely faces,” and the sentiment was obviously felt by all the people attending the meeting on June 23.
As people began to gather in the parking lot for the outdoor meeting, there were plenty of hugs, handshakes and waves as people said hello in person to friends they haven’t seen for more than year since the Redmond Senior Center closed due to the pandemic. Acknowledging the closure, Dooley took the opportunity to announce that the board and staff are hoping to open the center for onsite meals in July and have set the date of August 3 to restart activities and programming.
Redmond Mayor, George Endicott, also spoke at the meeting, talking about how a “dream team” began brainstorming a new concept for the center about two years ago. “Today we’re seeing a dream that has become a vision…This center is critical to the success of our community, and I am fully committed to it,” he said.
And it goes beyond driving a route. Volunteers are required to make contact with every client during every delivery; no meals are left at the door. When they arrive at the house, they knock on the door. If there is no answer, they use their cell phone to call the client. If there is still no answer, they will try doors to see if they can gain entry to the house. If the house is locked and there is still no contact, the volunteer will return to the center and work with Josie to determine next steps, which likely include trying to call again, alerting a family member or neighbor who may have a key, and, finally, requesting emergency services to do a safety check.
“Not making contact causes immediate concern,” Josie explains. “Opening the door to a Meals on Wheels volunteer may be the only contact a client may have that day. They plan around the expected time to make sure they can have that person-to-person moment.”
“Our volunteers really care,” she continues. “They consider the clients they help their responsibility. So often, they’ll do whatever needs to be done to make sure they’re safe and taken care of, even if it means going back to the house after completing their route to help with something else.”
Fun Facts about Josie
- Josie fulfilled a life-long dream to live in Vermont. However, she recently returned to Central Oregon in 2020. “It was difficult living so far from family during a pandemic.”
- She loves to create community around food so working with Meals on Wheels is the perfect fit.
- She enjoys hiking and camping and one of her favorite places is Suttle Lake.
- When she’s not working, cooking, or outdoors, she loves playing board games with her children and four grandchildren.
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