LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Nowadays you're considered lucky if you're a senior citizen who gets meals delivered to your door as part of the Calcasieu Council on the Aging's Meals on Wheels program. The program has been hit by the troubled economy, thanks largely to rising gas prices and increased prices of food.
The agency receives an average of 30 phone calls every day from seniors across the parish who are interested in signing up for the meal program. But employees have to inform qualified seniors that they'll be put on a waiting list, where some seniors have stayed for nearly a year. Currently there are 250 seniors on the waiting list.
Lake Charles senior Pearl Daigle, 85, is a recent addition to the waiting list.
"It's hard to just wait and nothing is coming," said Daigle. "But if you got to do it, you have to do it."
Daigle, who lives alone in an apartment, does get help from other family members, but she would like to keep as much of her independence as she can.
"So many seniors out there in the parish have no one that they can depend on and they're struggling very, very hard to just remain independent," said Debbie Duhon, program manager of CALCOA.
The program receives funding through the Governor's Office of Elderly Affairs, United Way, Bingo Hall proceeds, Calcasieu Police Jury and from anonymous clients.
The agency has an "Adopt-a-Senior" program for anyone interested in donating to Meals on Wheels. It costs $120 per month to feed one senior. The annual cost is $1,400. Donations are tax-deductible.
The agency currently delivers 475 meals daily to all areas of Calcasieu Parish.
Anyone interested in donating should call the Calcasieu Council on Aging at (337) 474-2583. Additional information can be found at here.