Meals on Wheels brings holiday cheer to your door | News

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Meals on Wheels brings holiday cheer to your door

WESTBROOK, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The Westbrook Meals on Wheels program helps provide hot meals to those in the community who need it all year. On Christmas, it is more than just a hot meal on a platter for those who would otherwise be alone. Volunteers work to bring joy to 200 local residents.

Fernando Ventresco received one of the meals Thursday morning, "I knew somebody was coming, but I didn't realize I would get a big reception like that. I appreciate it. It means a lot to me because I don't speak to anybody all day long."

Fernando opened the door to longtime volunteer Philip Rhinelander who was decked out in his finest Santa costume.

Rhinelander and his wife Priscilla have been volunteering to deliver Christmas meals for more than two decades.

"The people that have done it in years past have the first opportunity to do it again and they usually take it. Once you've done it, you want to do it again," Rhinelander said.

It takes about two hours for volunteers to complete their delivery route and make a difference in the lives of those in their community.

Priscilla Platt said, "Almost everybody that we meet is by themselves. There are very few people that have any people there, at all. So we enter these homes where they are spending an entire day, Christmas day, by themselves and sometimes we are the only visitor they have."

The program is put on by the Portland Rotary club and the Southern Maine Agency on Aging.

Larry Gross with SMAA said, "It's really very rewarding for the volunteers, for me. Especially for the people who are alone on Christmas and having people show up at their house and often with a few presents."

Rhinelander provided a hot meal, dessert, and cards local elementary students wrote for the recipients.

"This is a bright spot in their day, it really is. Much brighter than you would imagine," said Rhinelander.

The volunteers covered 26 communities on Thursday. A family tradition for some, helping others feel loved this holiday.


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