A Life of Public Service Includes Coordinating Frederick County’s Meals on Wheels

IMG_20150810_115239428_HDRMary Feaster is not coasting to retirement in a job with well-established hours and routines.

She knew when she became the Outreach Coordinator of the Frederick County Department of Aging Meals on Wheels program that it was not going to be an easy transition into retirement. She worked four years with physically and mentally challenged youth for the Frederick County Office for Children and Families.  Seven years ago when she accepted the Meals on Wheels Outreach Coordinator position.  She had already spent 22 years as Director of Environmental Services at Carroll Hospital Center, and was the Telerecruiting Supervisor of the Chesapeake/Potomac Blood Services Region for the American Red Cross and in other public service positions.

And yet, she still chose another demanding job, choosing this time to help keep vulnerable senior and disabled residents in their homes.  As the Outreach Coordinator for Frederick County Meals on Wheels program, she processes the initial applications from clients, nursing home discharge coordinators, Department of Social Services, hospitals, to name a few, which includes conducting telephone interviews, develops the food delivery routes, oversees the volunteers delivering food and fields the many requests from clients who often have very little family support and need help from others.

She now handles up to five applications a day and expanding existing delivery routes and developing new ones is a constant challenge.  A new Middletown/Myersville route has already been expanded into two routes because of growing food assistance needs and existing delivery routes, which used to encompass 10 to 15 miles, now involve 40 to 50 miles of driving and more deliveries.

“Map Quest used to be my best friend,” said Feaster.  “Now, I use Google maps.  We’re expanding because we want [vulnerable and disabled] people to be able to remain in their homes, while aging in place, and with dignity.  People who are no longer able to shop and drive should not have to live in assisted living.”

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