Aging in Place: January 2022

Meals on Wheels People volunteers serve 8,000 area seniors each week.
Meals on Wheels People volunteers serve 8,000 area seniors each week. Photo: Tom Cook.

One of the reasons Tualatin is a great place to live is our community spirit. I read an article back in November 2021, in the Portland Business Journal, about “What It Means to Give Back to the Community” written by a company in Portland who has made community service part of their corporate mission statement and why. What they have to say may or may not be universal, but it is certainly seen locally in Tualatin, not only through our businesses but our residents also. Together, we make Tualatin a better place to live and grow. 

Whether it be philanthropic donations of goods or money or volunteering or both, whether it be for one day or 365 days, the spirit of sharing and support is empowering and impactful. This kind of service broadens our sense of community, we become stronger and make a difference by making our community, and our world, a better place to live. We become partners, not only with those people or organizations in need, but with each other. The ‘I’ becomes ‘We’ and the ‘We’ becomes ‘Community.’ The entire community benefits, resulting in a community with a shared sense of purpose and commitment.

Tualatin is blessed to have many organizations that give support to our friends in need: Borland Free Clinic, School House Pantry, Community Warehouse, Family Promise, Ride Connection, Tualatin Together, Juanita Pohl Center and Meals on Wheels People to name a few. Our schools and churches and city resources also contribute and support in many ways. Following is just one example of what community support and spirit does as I highlight Meals on Wheels People (MOWP). If space allowed, I could write volumes on how Tualatin contributes and supports all the many organizations locally who thrive and work for the good of others and MOWP is just one example.

MOWP, in the 3-county area, has been closed for in person dining since the pandemic began in winter, 2020. Before the closure, in person dining and home delivery served 5,000 seniors a day. Now, currently, with in home delivery only, they are serving 7,200 people a day. From July 1, 2021, to October 1, 2021, 430,890 meals were delivered. There is also a supplemental Meals for Kids program which supports over 500 families a year with 1300 weekly deliveries. Volunteers are the key for any non-profit to survive and thrive and MOWP is fortunate to have 3,200 volunteers giving 89,000 hours annually which equates to $2.5 million. Because of closures, MOWP initiated innovative ways of reaching out to seniors: health and wellness call check ins and finding resources as needed – 25,000 calls between July 2021 and October 2021; Friendly Chat calls to those alone and isolated 8,835 calls between July 2021 and October 2021, and 2,000 on Thanksgiving Day; creating emergency preparedness plans for seniors and beginning a Safe Home for Seniors Program to assist seniors to continue to age in place in their homes. Many of those meal deliveries and calls support our Tualatin seniors and many of those volunteer hours are given by our Tualatin residents and businesses.

Then, there is the monetary support that all non-profits and agencies need annually and MOWP is no different. One of their major fund raisers the week before Thanksgiving is Donate Dinner where you contribute at supporting grocery stores and businesses at your check out. For November 2021, at Tualatin’ New Seasons Market, they raised $20,873 to contribute to the total amount metro wide of $281,821. Thank you, Tualatin, for stepping up and supporting our MOWP program and all our Tualatin programs, not just at holiday time but ALL the time. That’s community spirit.

For anyone who remembers the Helen Reddy song “I am Woman, Hear Me Roar,” Tualatin can rewrite the song toWe are Tualatin, Hear us Roar!” 

HAPPY NEW YEAR TUALATIN and please keep wearing your mask.