Nearly half of the 340 people whose Hannibal Nutrition Center meals are delivered five days a week received a surprise on Thursday, Feb. 6.

Nearly half of the 340 people whose Hannibal Nutrition Center meals are delivered five days a week received a surprise on Thursday, Feb. 6.

Instead of seeing their usual drivers, they saw Hannibal Board of Public Works trucks arrive at their homes. The meals were delivered by four BPW trucks with two men in each cab.

The BPW crews had volunteered to help, after watching a television report about the need for help experienced in Quincy, Ill.

This was very welcome by the nutrition staff, because of Hannibal’s 13 inches of snow during Tuesday and Wednesday.

Bob Stevenson, BPW general manager, explained, “Cindy Livesay (BPW director of communications) came to me and said a couple guys mentioned that report from Quincy” and wanted to offer to help in Hannibal.

“Because of their responsibilities here (in the building) some guys couldn’t do it,” Stevenson said. “Other guys who were more available volunteered.

“Practically everybody would be willing to do that,” Stevenson added. “I’m just glad we could help.

“Looks like we were able to fulfill a need that was pretty pressing, and it worked out good for all of us.”

Hannibal Nutrition Center Executive Director Debbie Catlett was very happy to get the call for voluntary help from the BPW. “I talked to our drivers, and if they felt uncomfortable about any place they had to go, we put it on the Board of Public Works,” she said.

“They knew where everyone lived,” she added. “That was the beauty of it. They knew every address, and they got every one delivered.”

BPW may help

again today

“The BPW guys told me if we need help again tomorrow (Friday) to call them, and they will come and help,” Catlett said.

“We have all our trucks maintained, and we are ready to go on any emergency,” Stevenson said. “It looks like the weather is not going to be much better tomorrow, so it is the same situation, and we are on standby.”

In Hannibal although the snow was deep, it did not create power outages, he said. “I am not aware of any power outages. This type of weather doesn’t hurt our wires. A light snow like this is not much of a threat.

“The calls we are getting have been mostly frozen water pipes,” Stevenson said

Catlett has previously explained that this meal delivery is the only daily contact some of her people receive, so it helps in more than one way. Also, “Some people get more than one meal,” she said. “And some people eat half for lunch and half for supper.”

Catlett said the BPW’s voluntary help was done in “the true spirit of Hannibal,” adding that “when you work in a not-for-profit agency, and you see the Board of Public Works and the Street Department working so hard to help Hannibal, you are so glad you live here in a small town where people want to help each other.”

The nutrition center has previously had problems delivering meals, Catlett said. However, “in the 23 years I have been here, this is the first time I have had anything of this magnitude of help.

“When we started today (Thursday) we had four routes that weren’t covered, two cooks out and an office person out.

So there was concern we were just going to have to close. Then the call came from the Board of Public Works.”

Catlett does not expect to need extra help for many more days, because “Leon Wallace and Hannibal Street Department - in my estimation - have done a wonderful job to get these streets opened up with a horrible snow.”

In addition to serving meals at the nutrition center five days a week and delivering them to homes, the nutrition center provides all the meals needed at the Hannibal Area Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse and the Hannibal Supervision Center. These were delivered as usual Thursday. “We were able to get there,” Catlett said. “We have never missed a meal there. There is no other way for those people to get food.”