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Mayer organization gears up for annual March for Meals March 20

Marchers participate in this past year's March for Meals in Mayer. This year, all the money raised will stay with the local program and help Mayer Meals on Wheels serve more than 12,000 hot meals annually to homebound from Dewey-Humboldt to Cordes Lakes.<br>
FilePhoto/Heidi Dahms Foster

Marchers participate in this past year's March for Meals in Mayer. This year, all the money raised will stay with the local program and help Mayer Meals on Wheels serve more than 12,000 hot meals annually to homebound from Dewey-Humboldt to Cordes Lakes.<br> FilePhoto/Heidi Dahms Foster

Mayer Meals on Wheels is gearing up for its big annual March for Meals on Saturday, March 20, to help a program that is a lifeline to homebound and elders in the Highway 69 corridor from Dewey-Humboldt to Cordes Lakes.

The organization serves about 1,500 meals each month, and delivers more than 1,000 of those meals to homebound people. Often, the volunteer who delivers the meal is the only person the recipient sees each day.

Mayer MOW has improved its service this past year, replacing a five-day program of frozen meals in the Cordes Lakes area with daily hot meals.

Linda Leon of Cordes Lakes suffers from Multiple Sclerosis, and she shares her home with her elderly "adopted dad." Both receive Meals on Wheels.

"It means I eat and have human contact," Leon said. "My adopted dad who lives with me is a disabled senior, and it means very much to us. I can't drive and he's on oxygen. He still drives to town but we don't get there often enough to get a lot of food. Meals on Wheels means a hot meal every day when neither one of us is up to fixing it. It's to nice have someone every day who stops by to check on us and drop off the food."

Leon said she appreciates the change to the hot meals because some days, she has a hard time preparing food.

"It's hot, and I pay more attention to eating. I try to eat when it comes. Putting food in the microwave doesn't seem a big deal to most people, but if we are having a bad day, that's difficult. We're very thankful for the people who volunteer and support it."

Darlene Geiser, who also lives in Cordes Lakes, is limited in her activities because of Spinal Stenosis. She is not able to lift or be very active, and Meals on Wheels allows her to be more independent.

"I enjoy the meals tremendously," she said. "The (volunteers) stop by about 11 a.m. and I eat right then so I don't have to reheat it. It means a whole lot to me because of my sickness. I was in a nursing home before."

March For Meals is a national campaign that takes place every March. The event brings awareness to seniors in need, and helps to recruit new volunteers and raise money for local senior nutrition programs.

Last year, the event raised more than $2,000 in Mayer, but because Yavapai Senior Nutrition oversaw the program, all the money did not stay with Mayer. However, in the past year Mayer Meals on Wheels has taken over its own program, and every penny stays with the local nutrition effort.

"This year it stays right in our service area," said MAMOW director Mary Yorgensen.

Individuals solicit pledges for the walk, which will take place in Mayer and cover two miles. Lonesome Valley Wranglers 4-H youths will again participate in the event this year. People can walk or bike the route, and Yorgensen said rides will be available for those who can't make the entire two miles.

County Supervisor Tom Thurman again will lead the walk.

Registration for the march is at 8 a.m. The Mayer Elders Center will serve breakfast beginning at 7:30 a.m. until 9:30 a.m., so those participating in the walk can eat breakfast before or after.

Yorgensen said she has some great raffle prizes lined up for the day, including a Honeybaked Ham certificate, an overnight stay at Creekside Lodge, a certificate for a professional pet portrait, and more.

Those who would like to participate in the walk can contact Mary Yorgensen at mayermow@gmail.com, and she will email a registration form in return so you can start collecting pledges now. People may also call 928-632-7511 to pledge or make a donation.

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