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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Nutrition center drivers deliver more than food

  • For the past 15 years Sandy Brashers has been delivering meals for the Hannibal Nutrition Center. She drives an estimated 30 miles a day to drop off 70 meals. What keeps her coming back?

    “I love doing what I’m doing,” she said. “Some of the people we deliver to are confined to their home. We might be the only person they see.”


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  • For the past 15 years Sandy Brashers has been delivering meals for the Hannibal Nutrition Center. She drives an estimated 30 miles a day to drop off 70 meals. What keeps her coming back?
    “I love doing what I’m doing,” she said. “Some of the people we deliver to are confined to their home. We might be the only person they see.”
    Two of Brashers’ fellow drivers, Richard Blakeslee and Russell Fishback, also enjoy their work.
    “I like the people I deliver meals to,” said Blakeslee, a nutrition center driver for two years.
    “It’s a good thing to do,” said Fishback, a part of the delivery team for 15 years.
    The nutrition center utilizes from seven to 12 drivers a day to deliver anywhere from 350 to over hot 400 meals. According to Debbie Catlett, nutrition center director, a combination of volunteers and paid personnel make up the delivery pool.
    “Right now one-third are volunteers and two-thirds are paid staff. With so many meals we have to be able to count on people who want to come to work every day,” she said.
    During the winter months meal delivery can be a challenge.
    “Everything has got hills in this town,” said Fishback. “The street department does pretty good at keeping the routes clear.”
    Catlett admits that winter weather is always a concern.
    “We always talk to them about winter safety to make sure they’re getting themselves bundled up,” she said. “They’re in and out of their cars a lot, so we have to make sure they don’t get frostbite.”
    Frigid temperatures are not Catlett’s biggest worry when her drivers head out.
    “Our biggest problem in the winter is black ice. That’s the thing you’ll fall on more than anything,” she said. “We worry about snow and slippery surfaces to walk on. Our drivers are given the kind of grips you put on over your shoes that help them have traction in the ice and snow.”
    The bond that forms between meal recipients and drivers is especially evident during the winter, according to Catlett.
    “Some of our drivers are senior citizens so the seniors we’re delivering to worry about the seniors that are delivering to them,” she said. “If they (drivers) are late they (food recipients) start to call. If the weather is bad they worry whether or not their driver has fallen. They’re checking on us while we’re checking on them.”
    Anna Owens of Hannibal, who is on Fishback’s route, sits on her bed and looks out the window for Fishback to arrive.
    “I’m worried about him falling,” she said. “I go out on the porch so he doesn’t have to come up the steps.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Owens appreciates both the meal and the man who delivers it.
    “Russell is a pretty special carrier. He’s always got a smile. I’ve never heard him get angry,” she said. “He’s a blessing to be able to do this. He deserves a medal.”

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