Hot weather has Meals On Wheels drivers checking on senior citizens

“You have to, you have to. You never know what they’re going through"

Hot weather has Meals On Wheels drivers checking on senior citizens
Longtime Meals On Wheels driver John Clay delivers food to James Collins in Shreveport on Tuesday. Clay takes the opportunity on his stops to check whether any of his senior citizens are suffering from the heat.

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - With a heat advisory until 7 o’clock Wednesday night in the Shreveport-Bossier City area, people are being urged to check up on senior citizens to ensure they’re staying cool.

That’s because the heat index, or “feels-like” temperature, reportedly hovered between 105 and 110 degrees Tuesday.

For Meals On Wheels, a program operated by the Caddo Council on Aging, such checking on senior citizens already is part of its mission statement.

That service delivers more than 1,100 hot meals each day to homebound senior citizens, those who are unable to cook or shop for themselves.

Longtime delivery driver John Clay told KSLA News 12 that he and his fellow drivers pay close attention to senior citizens on every visit, but especially when it’s dangerously hot outside.

As Clay approached one front door at a north Shreveport apartment complex Tuesday, he announced,:“Hey, Mr. Collins. How you doing? You all right today?”

“Yeah, I feel good,” responded James Collins, one of Clay’s regulars.

Collins said the welfare checks give him a sense of security.

"Yeah! Because I could be laying here, you know, in bad shape. And by doing that knock, give (sic) me that momentum and get up and come to the door, you know? "

Farther along on Clay’s route, there’s Curtis Bridgewater, better known by friends and neighbors as “Mr. B.”

With a wry grin, Bridgewater said he just cannot understand why some senior citizens won’t turn on their air conditioning even when the heat becomes dangerous outside because of worries about their utility bill.

“I think it’s something have to do with their mind,” he laughed.

Working as a Meals On Wheels driver is no easy task.

Clay said he delivers 92 meals a day on his five-hour route starting at 7:30 a.m..

He said he pays very close attention to senior citizens every visit, particularly when it’s dangerously hot outside.

“You have to, you have to. You never know what they’re going through," Clay said.

"Like I said, a lot of them don’t even have their kin come check on them every day.”

That’s why this full-time bus driver - and Meals on Wheels part-timer - has been delivering these meals for the past 8 years and counting.

"I wouldn't trade it for the world."

Call the Caddo Council on Aging at (318) 676-7900 to learn more about Meals on Wheels.

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