EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

February 9, 2013

They make sure those who need help get help

LAWRENCE — Despite predictions of up to 2 feet of snow and whipping winds, the elderly and needy in the area will still be getting the services throughout the Blizzard of 2013.

Cor Unum meal center in South Lawrence was opened for dinner last night and will be open today for breakfast from 6 to 8 a.m. and for dinner from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., said coordinator Diane Jarvis.

She said 200 people were at breakfast yesterday, double the number of people whom they serve on a regular day.

“We were so busy because I think people were concerned they might not get out,” Jarvis said.

She said the meal center sponsored by St. Patrick Parish decided to open today so no one would go hungry.

“Even if one person comes, we’ll serve them. Anyone who comes out in this type of weather deserves a meal,” Jarvis said.

Ken Campbell, food coordinator at Lazarus House in Lawrence, said staff members came up with alternative plans to make sure no one went without food.

At the soup kitchen, staff members served a hearty breakfast yesterday and gave each guest a bag containing sandwiches, bananas, apples, oranges, apple sauce, juice boxes, cookies, and chips.

”We’re concerned about people walking to the soup kitchen during the severe weather,” Campbell said.

The soup truck that usually goes out on Fridays was suspended for the safety of volunteers and clients yesterd. The food truck will be back out on the road tomorrow. In addition to food, clients will also be getting coats and blankets.

At Elder Services of Merrimack Valley, Executive Director Rosanne DiStefano said during storms they have a virtual office. While staff members work from home, they have their clients caseloads and check with them over the telephone.

”We want to make sure they are receiving the services that they need and check if they are safe, have electricity,” she said.

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