Friendships develop through Deupree Meals On Wheels

Friendships develop through Deupree Meals On Wheels

Friendships develop through Deupree Meals On Wheels

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Photo above:  Ed Yorgen, center, loves chatting with Edmund and Suzanne McCarter, who have delivered Deupree Meals On Wheels to him each Thursday.

Edmund and Suzanne McCarter soon became good friends with Ed Yorgen, 95, one of the clients they delivered Deupree Meals On Wheels food every week.

“Ed, right away, it was pretty obvious he was a social person,” Edmund said.

Travel tips, and lots in common

The McCarters and Ed also connected on a personal level. He had plenty of travel tips for them, such as when they mentioned they were going to New Orleans. He told them not to miss the Mobie Carnival Museum, which chronicles and celebrates “the Birthplace of Mardi Gras,” in Mobile, Ala.

“We also went to a restaurant that he recommended,” Edmund said. “Mardi Gras actually started in Mobile, not in New Orleans. They taught New Orleans how to do it.”

The McCarters found Ed interesting, and he took a liking to them.

“Ed’s an interesting guy,” Edmund said. “His house is fascinating, and he and his wife were the only owners. We’ve become friends because he’s willing to open up.”

Also very key, Suzanne said, is the fact that “he’s willing to be friends.”

When they get together, “We try to solve the problems of the world,” Ed said with a laugh about their conversations.

I look forward to Thursday mornings, and talking to these two."
Ed Yorgen, Deupree Meals On Wheels recipient, who loves the people who deliver to him.

Meals, and a safety net for older adults

Deupree Meals On Wheels deliverers don’t merely take food to older adults; they also work to make sure they’re in good health and aren’t struggling with things like cleanliness or inability to keep up with their medications. The program helps elders remain in their homes as long as possible.

“One of the great things about this is you learn a little history about different people, and Ed’s an interesting guy,” Edmund said.

“Every visit is different. But we had one advantage with Ed: Ed delivered Meals on Wheels. And his wife delivered Meals on Wheels,” Edmund added. “He was probably the easiest we’ve ever had to get to talk. He wanted to talk, he was open about it. He understood what we were doing.”

The McCarters make deliveries every Thursday – to four homes on alternating weeks, and to five homes the other weeks. They’ve been delivering meals for 21 years, first in the Blue Ash area, and since moving to Hyde Park, with Deupree Meals On Wheels.

“It’s our Date Day,” Edmund said. “What we often do is we might go to a movie afterwards, or go do shopping, or go out to lunch. That’s why we do it as a team.”

“I look forward to Thursday mornings, and talking to these two,” said Ed, a father of two whose wife, Janet, died in early 2022.

Suzanne said she and Edmund also look forward to Thursdays.

“I feel a lot of times, I get more out of it than the people we’re delivering to,” she said. “It just makes you feel good. They like you, and you like what you’re doing. It just feels good.”

Like the McCarters, there were many times the Yorgens delivered meals as a couple.


Deupree Meals On Wheels recipient Ed Yorgen unpacks his week's supply of meals and puts them in his refrigerator.

Helping people stay in their homes longer

President Richard Nixon in March of 1972 signed into law a measure that amended the Older Americans Act of 1965 to include a national nutrition program for adults 60 and older. The legislation supported the senior nutrition programs commonly known as Meals on Wheels. More than 5,000 community-based programs are dedicated to alleviating hunger and social isolation nationwide.

“When most people think of Meals on Wheels, they think food delivery, but that’s really just the beginning of what these community-based organizations offer,” Ellie Hollander, president and CEO of Meals on Wheels America, said this month. “Frequent meal delivery opens the door to a wide range of social connection opportunities, and as our volunteers know, seniors hold a treasure trove of wisdom, resilience and experiences from which we can all benefit.”

Her organization this month noted 24% of seniors report feeling socially isolated and 43% say they feel lonely on a regular basis.



Having social connections is especially important in helping to prevent dementia, according to many, including Shannon Braun, director of Episcopal Retirement Services' Center for Memory Support and Inclusion.

“It’s our hope that everyone spends more time with seniors in their own lives, embracing their wisdom and showering them with the care and attention they deserve,” Hollander said.

Tsippy Gottlieb, director of ERS’ Deupree Meals On Wheels ministry, said that in addition to making sure clients are safe and well, “we provide microwaves for those who need the food, but don’t have the way to warm the food, or mini freezers who need the food but cannot store the food.”

Deupree Meals on Wheels also provides personal-care items from those who return from a hospital and don’t have hygienic- or personal items to take care of themselves. 

“We always look for volunteers who can commit to once a week for two hours,” Gottlieb said.

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Mike Rutledge

Mike Rutledge

Mike Rutledge has been Content Marketing Specialist for Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS) since early 2022. He writes articles, blogs and other information to inform people about things happening at ERS’ retirement communities of Marjorie P. Lee an... Read More >

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