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Seniors Snowed in

***UPDATE Tuesday 6:46 P.M.***We checked back in with Ross Tuesday, who got her driveway and walkway shoveled the day after the last report.She now has plenty of frozen dinner and food in her refrigerator in case of an emergency after experiencing being snowed in for six-days. Ross said she is glad she can now go out and get to the store. But for those who normally can’t get out, those who are home-bound and depend on meal delivery services, the snowstorm was a tough ride. Meals on Wheels executive director JoNetta Weaver said they had to interrupt meal deliveries at the height of the storms and stop services for two days. Drivers for the Columbia non-profit were stuck in the snow. But “snow drivers” came to help the next day. I had people call and say they have a four-wheel-drive truck and they’d deliver food for us, said Weaver. Help poured in and the next day they were back on their route. They also prepared emergency food bags four months ago so their clients won’t go hungry. Those bags were prepared by Rock Bridge High School students, who did a food drive in October-November. Weaver said they were surprised by the intensity of the first storm that stopped their deliveries mid-route. But they weren’t surprised by the outpouring of help they received. That just shows what the community is willing to do for each other, said Weaver. ***ORIGINAL STORY***Dozens of seniors in Boone County have been snowed in and running out of food and medication. “I feel like I need to get out, I’m getting kind of stir-crazy,” said Louise Ross, who’s been snowed in for six days since the snowstorm on Thursday. The two major snowstorms in a week has made things even harder for seniors to get out the door. Meal delivery services have been interrupted and some are missing doctor’s appointments. Ross, like many other low-income seniors, can’t afford to pay someone to clear the snow. The other option was to tackle it herself. She shoveled the steps down to her front porch, but the second round of storm quickly covered her efforts. “I’ve just been terribly racked with pain on my back, but I tried,” said Ross. Ross, who suffers from osteoporosis, has broken her foot four times before and falling is a concern. Many other seniors share that same concern, according to Jessica Macy, executive director of Boone County Council on Aging, a non-profit that has been helping low-income seniors with snow removal. Macy and her team of volunteers have helped about 50 seniors during the last winter snowstorm, but they had to temporarily stop taking calls for snow removal because they don’t have enough volunteers. “They probably had enough food for the first round of storm, but now we’re facing round two and it’s just a lot of snow. And now they’re having a tough time getting to the grocery store,” said Macy. They resumed taking in calls again Tuesday, after volunteers were able to get out of their own driveways. The next day, they have already received 75 calls for help but they don’t have enough volunteers and the waiting list is growing. One volunteer cleared 10 driveways in two days and said he’s not quitting until the job is complete. “If I was at my house and I couldn’t get out, I wouldn’t know what I would do,” said Johnny Huntington, a young homeless man who is currently staying at the Salvation Army in Columbia. He said he wanted to give back, “because if it weren’t for other people giving me handouts, I’d probably be starving or be out on the streets.” Ross who is on the waiting list to get her driveway and walkway cleared said “I really wish I could do it. But I just can’t and it means the world to me.” To volunteer, contact Boone County Council on Aging at (573) 443-1111.

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