Linda Dana, of Kennebunk, left, is all smiles as Wendy Lank delivers her Meals on Wheels on a recent day. Lank, social services director in Arundel, was among a contingent of municipal officials, including folks from Kennebunk and Wells, who assisted volunteer drivers in their deliveries on a recent day. Tammy Wells photo

Twice a week, volunteers dispense meals, a smile and a friendly “hello” to 90 Meals on Wheels recipients in Arundel and the Kennebunks, Wells and Ogunquit.

On a recent day, municipal staff and others turned out to ride along with volunteer drivers – or to do the honors themselves, making sure those enrolled in the nutrition program of Southern Maine Agency on Aging aimed get their delivery of frozen meals, bread, and milk.

Among the recipients is Linda Dana.

“It’s a great system,” said Dana, of Kennebunk, as several folks – Kennebunk Town Manager Heather Balser, Deputy Community Development Director Karen Winton, Kennebunk EMS Division Chief Beau Gleason and Arundel social services director Wendy Lank – stop by on a recent day as part of the Community Champions initiative.

There was a chat, and then the quartet went on to deliver to the others on their list.

Southern Maine Agency on Aging along with other agencies across the country marks March for Meals, commemorating the day in 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed a law establishing a national nutrition program for seniors 60 years and older. This year, Meals on Wheels officials are joining together to garner ensure programs can continue to address food insecurity and malnutrition, combat social isolation, enable independence, and improve health.


The frozen meals are cooked and merely require re-heating. They are approved by a registered dietician, and the food is prepared in USDA inspected kitchens through a local Maine company, according to SMAA. the program is aimed at homebound seniors, 60 and older.

Candace Simeoni, elder crimes officer at Kennebunk Police Department, is a regular volunteer driver with the program.

Municipal officials from Arundel, Kennebunk, and Wells, along with Meals on Wheels volunteer drivers and others were out in force last week, dispensing meals, smiles and a chat with seniors enrolled with the program. Tammy Wells photo

“I started doing it twice a week when the pandemic hit,” she said. “It’s great.” She said the ability to deliver meals to area seniors was a boon during a time when there were few opportunities  to interact with seniors in person – and the agency needed volunteers. And while COVID is not as prevalent as it once was and restrictions have been lifted, Simeoni continues her volunteer gig – checking in, delivering the meal, and informing seniors about scams and other vital information.

“This is community policing for me,” Simeoni said.

Select board members Sally Carpenter and Lisa Pratt were among those riding along with volunteers and greeting clients as they made their deliveries.

“I love the people we deliver to, they’re great,” said volunteer driver Natalie Gray. And, she said, volunteering gives her an opportunity to help others.


Wells Police Chief Jo-Ann Putnam said delivering meals annually during the March for Meals event gives her a chance to greet people she has not seen in a long time. “I know most of them,” said Putnam, who began working in Wells as a full-time police officer in 1986. “And it’s fun.”

Southern Maine Agency on Aging ‘s Nutrition Program Manager, Ashley Perrone, said the agency typically provides five frozen meals each week, plus bread and milk, to 250 clients from Old Orchard Beach to Ogunquit and to Lyman, Dayton, Buxton, and Hollis.  In all, 19 volunteer drivers deliver the meals. In all, Meals on Wheels delivers to 1,000 recipients in York and Cumberland counties.

The visit, said Perrone, is an important part of the delivery and pointed out the Meals on Wheels volunteer might be the only person a homebound senior may see during the week.

“Volunteers take time at each stop,” to have a friendly chat, she said, and ask if more services are needed.

As the group of volunteers prepared to leave the parking lot of the Masonic Lodge in West Kennebunk on a recent day, Doreen Halla said she has been enjoying delivering meals for 10 years.

She had a few words about those to whom she delivers.

“I love them,” she said.

For more information about Meals on Wheels, call 1-800-427-7411 or visit

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