For Norman Dalke, Yukon’s Mobile Meals program is a lifeline.
The 89-year-old Yukon man knows that about 10:45 a.m. there will be a knock on the door and a hot meal will be on the other side waiting to be devoured.
Dalke has been part of the mobile meals program for more than a decade. It’s something he looks forward to each day.
“I’ve gotten used to them, they’ve gotten used to me. We get along real fine,” he said while waiting for a chicken casserole to arrive on Thursday.
“They serve up good meals and have friendly people who deliver the stuff. It’s been a good relationship,” he said.
Soon, there is a knock on the door. Helena Scott, a volunteer, hands Dalke a container filled with the casserole, vegetables and a dessert.
Dalke takes the meal, placing next to his recliner, as he continues his discussion of the program.
The meals cost Dalke $1.50 per day. It’s a suggested donation.
However, Joanne Oltmanns, the executive director, said they won’t turn anyone away who can’t pay.
There are scholarships available to help cover the cost.
Next week, Oltmann said the program will host a fall fundraising event.
An all-you-care-to-eat spaghetti dinner is planned at the Dale Robertson Center, where the program is housed.
Tickets for the dinner are $10 per person and include the meal, a drink and dessert.
It will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“We’re kicking off our fall fundraising efforts,” Oltmanns said.
Money raised by the dinner will provide scholarships, she said.
The nonprofit program averages feeding about 80 people per day, Monday through Friday.
Its only funding source is from donations.
Because the program does not receive federal or state funding, it can serve anyone in need.
Oltmanns said they focus on those living inside the Yukon city limits. There is a county program to assist those living outside of the area.
“We can serve anyone who has a need,” she said.
As of now, Oltmanns said, about one-third of their clients need assistance paying for their meals.
Dalke, who is visually impaired, said the meals are worth the cost.
“The food is great. It varies from good to excellent to super. I’ve got no complaints. The variety is good as well, and it’s usually seasoned well,” he said.
The fact that the food is brought to the door also is an important element, said Oltmanns.
For many participants, it is the only contact they have with someone outside the home.
“So many of us are elderly or handicapped in some other way. If you don’t answer the door, and they don’t know you are gone, they begin to sound an alarm,” said Dalke.
Oltsmanns agreed that is a key element of the program.
“Our goal is to help people stay as independent for as long as possible,” she said.
AT A GLANCE
Help fill our chicken coop
What: A fundraiser for Yukon Mobile Meals
Where: Dale Robertson Center
When: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Cost: $10 per person
Menu: All-you-want-eat spaghetti, chicken spaghetti, salad, garlic bread and dessert.