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Local Meals on Wheels chapters cancels Wednesday deliveries due to weather

February 20, 2019 Digital Media Exclusive

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Butler's senior citizens will have an extra challenge today — along with the snow, several branches of Meals on Wheels reported that no hot meals will be delivered.

The senior meal program, which has several branches throughout the county, announced that deliveries are suspended due to the severe weather.

Butler city's branch announced on Facebook that it would be closed for the day, and the director of the Valencia-based South Butler meal delivery program made the same decision.

“It's more the ice than the snow that we're worried about,” said Margaret Gebhart.

As director, Gebhart decided to cancel delivery today, citing forecasts that are calling for freezing rain through the day and into the evening. She worried that drivers would be in danger if they delivered meals in the snow and ice. She noted that this is the second time this month the program had to cancel food delivery for senior citizens.

“I can't remember the last time we've closed in the winter, and now we've done it twice just this month,” Gebhart said. “It's very unusual.”

Gebhart said that Freeport's Meals on Wheels program is also closed. Several calls to the program's officials were unanswered.

Gebhart said that even without deliveries, recipients of the program should have something to eat. Each person is given a storm bag, she said, which includes microwaveable meals and snacks, such as applesauce, that have a long shelf life.

But it's not all bad news for the county's senior citizens.

Butler Area Rapid Transit, which provides medical transportation for those over 60 years of age, is running normally.

“It's business as usual, just a bit slower,” said Rachel Lutz, logistics manager for the service. “We're getting a lot of people canceling, but we're out there for people.”

Lutz said that 13 to 15 bus drivers are navigating the county's snowy roads like any other driver, avoiding stalled tractor-trailer trucks and circumnavigating closed roads.

“They're taking good care and they're driving well,” Lutz said.

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