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Meals on Wheels People has delivered food to hungry Hillsboro residents for years.

STAFF PHOTO: GEOFF PURSINGER - Volunteers with Meals on Wheels serve a Thanksgiving meal during a holiday dinner on Thursday. Nov. 15. The organization recently moved to a new headquarters at Sonrise Church, near Orenco.It's still a few days before Thanksgiving, but Gloria Cox already has its New Year's resolutions planned.

Cox, kitchen coordinator for the Hillsboro Meals on Wheels People, would like to see more local seniors take advantage of her organization, which delivers food to homebound seniors, and offers meals at its dining center two days a week.

In July, Hillsboro Meals on Wheels People relocated from its home on Baseline Street to Sonrise Church, 6701 N.E. Campus Drive. Dining room attendance numbers have dropped since moving to Sonrise, Cox said, and she's working on plans to increase the number of people are served by the organization each week.

"We're trying to get the word out that we are here now," Cox said. "Sonrise has been great, and they are so willing to do whatever they can to help out."

Across the Portland area, Meals on Wheels People volunteers will deliver more than 1,800 hot turkey dinners on Thanksgiving.

"A traditional holiday meal with turkey and all the trimmings will be delivered by volunteers to our most frail and isolated seniors on Thanksgiving Day," Meals on Wheels People Chief Executive Officer Suzanne Washington said. "We are so grateful for the community volunteers who spend part of their holiday making the day brighter for these seniors."

Volunteers cook and deliver food to homebound seniors across Hillsboro and eastern Cornelius three days a week. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Meals on Wheels opens its dining room to the community, offering warm meals between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

About 80 volunteers with Hillsboro's Meals on Wheels People received an early Thanksgiving celebration last week. Meeting at Sonrise Church, the volunteers were treated to a hot turkey dinner with all the trimmings as a thanks for their hard work.

This year has been one of transition, Cox said. And it wasn't always smooth.

"We're getting into a groove, now," she said. "We're in a dreamland here. (Sonrise) has bent over backward to accommodate us. Anything we need, they are on it. What we are lacking in right now are dining room numbers and we're working on some things now to draw them in."

In December, Sonrise will open is annual cold weather shelter for area homeless. Meals on Wheels will provide food for people staying the night.

Kevin Howard, executive pastor at Sonrise Church, said working with Meals on Wheels is good for the community, and Sonrise's mission.

"It's a great partnership Howard said. "We deeply love Hillsboro and want to do our part. Our vision, aside from loving God, is that our heart is for the least, the last, the lost and the hurting. And we've got plenty of them in Hillsboro."

Other senior programs, such as the Hillsboro Senior Center, also offer dine-in lunches to the elderly, Cox said, but have never worried about drawing in enough people. She hopes to emulate their success.

"They have other things to attract people, like activities and classes," she said. "We have the room here. We're going to start working on that. We could have exercise instructors or yoga instructors. We want to try to have activities planned and available for people."



By Geoff Pursinger
Editor, Hillsboro Tribune
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