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Bethany puts home-cooked Meals on Wheels
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Bethany Home’s Development Director Julie De Araujo takes care of the start-up bills for the new “Meals on Wheels” program kicked off this week in a co-op between three agencies determined to put hot lunches back into the equation. - photo by GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

RIPON - Hot stuffed bell peppers prepared in the Ripon Senior Center was a first Monday for the new “Meals on Wheels” noon lunch program launched by the Bethany Home Foundation.

Bethany is acting as a conduit to make a hot lunch available for senior citizens in the community both at the senior center at Wilma and Fourth streets as well as for those shut-ins at home.   Julie De Araujo is administrating the new program that has brought several agencies together replacing the frozen meals that had been delivered to Ripon homes only once a week for the last year.

She noted that age has a way of dulling the senses – including smell – and the hot meal delivered into homes at noontime brings the aroma of a good, hot entrée right into the living room.

Terry Murray is coordinating the daily lunch preparation and service at the Ripon Senior Center.  Elise Siquig is a four-hour a day Bethany Home employee who prepares the meals

De Araujo explained the long-time Stockton agency, Seniors First, had been in existence for some 25 years - handling all the “Meals on Wheels” programs for all of San Joaquin County.

She said the operation basically went belly up in June of 2008.  It was a non-profit organization that lost all of its funding with its board of directors deciding to shut the operation down.  

Terry Murray is welcoming volunteer applications at the senior center for those who wish to be part of the revived lunch program.  Bethany is also seeking corporate and private donations for the program though its foundation.  Julie De Araujo can be reached at 599-7441.  Contributions are tax deductible.