Julia has lived through a lot in her 92 years. She remembers seeing the turkeys run along the dirt road to her one-room schoolhouse along the creek. She remembers helping her parents herd their cattle from their pasture. She remembers preparing the ranch before the 1966 blizzard. Julia is a wealth of stories from life in rural South Dakota and she knows how things used to be.
“Through the hardest times we would take care of each other. I remember our neighbors lost their home in a fire. They stayed at our home nearby and we took care of them until they got housing. We were happy to do it and enjoyed their company!”
As she and her neighbors got older, they relied on each other more and more. Some of the older folks on neighboring ranches began to move into retirement homes. Others stayed behind.
“When a husband would pass away, we all would make sure the widow was taken care of. We’d cook her meals for weeks, bring frozen meals, and just spend time with her. Those were some of the toughest and most caring conversations.”
Julia’s own husband passed away in 2010. She realized that being out in the country by herself with an entire farmhouse to take care of was too much for her at her age and decided to move into Rapid City, to a much smaller home in a community of seniors like her. They still take care of each other.
“Each day I meet with Rose, who is even older than me! We talk about our childhoods in the country. I help her keep her home tidy and make sure she’s okay.”
Both Rose and Julia get extra help from Meals on Wheels Western South Dakota. Each weekday, and even through the COVID-19 pandemic, a Meals on Wheels volunteer stops by their home to chat, check-in, and provide hot, nutritious meals. Volunteers ensure that Julia and Rose are staying cared for. They are happy to listen to them reminisce of the good ol’ days and in the event something is amiss, they report any issues back to Meals on Wheels so safety contacts can be notified.
Julia appreciates the company and the hot meal. “I can’t quite get around like I used to. I’m so happy that Meals on Wheels exists.”
Meals on Wheels Western South Dakota will provide hot meals for lunch, as well as frozen meals for the evenings and weekends.
And even through South Dakota’s harsh winters, Meals on Wheels is there for Julia. Along with her regular meal delivery, as pictured below, every year she receives a blizzard bag in case road conditions prevent daily visits. Each bag provided two days’ worth of easy-open, non-perishable food and water to get them through the toughest times.
“I was so glad to get that food when that heavy, wet snow came. Getting Meals on Wheels was the best thing that’s happened to me in some time! I wish more people like me knew they could get the help they need.”
For more information about Meals on Wheels Western South Dakota please call 605-394-6002 or go to www.mealsprogram.com.