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Meals on Wheels coming to an end

Updated: Thursday, November 14 2013, 12:30 PM EST

By Jon Rudder

EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio - For 40 years, Quad City Meals on Wheels delivered meals to area residents, but come Dec. 31, the program will come to an end.

NEWS9 sat down with one woman who has watched the program evolve from its first day.

Norma Richards has made countless meals and worn numerous hats during her time with Meals on Wheels. Now over 40 years after the program started in 1973 it will come to an end, but its reach has had a lasting impression on more than just the clients served.

"The hardest decision that this board has had to make was the day we had to decide that for the benefit of everybody involved on the board that we needed to actually close," Meals on Wheels President Anita Strader said.

Decreasing volunteer numbers have left the program unable to continue and serve its clients.

"We started with 15 clients and almost 100 volunteers. That's reversed today," Richards said.

Richards has been involved with the program since it started and it will be an emotional goodbye when the last meal goes out the door.

"After 40 years, it's almost like a divorce or a death," Richards said.

At itspeak, Meals on Wheels served about 70 clients, however, to Richards, each one of them was unique.

"I wouldn't begin to guess the number of clients that I had met over the years, they became like family," Richards said. "There are some personalities that you just never forget."

Now, as they pack up one last time, Richards looks back on 40 years with one lasting memory.

"Just having that one person come to their house every day made such a difference to them every day," Richards said. "It's almost like the food was secondary to the human contact."

About 25 volunteers are still offering their service to deliver meals to between 35 and 40 residents, but have said that the decision to close is irreversible now that their funding has run out and they haven't applied for further grants.

Catholic Charities and Easter Seals will cover some of clients that Meals on Wheels served. 

Meals on Wheels coming to an end

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