Longmont Meals on Wheels head chef Mike Laurenz shares a laugh with volunteers as he places sliced turkey into a pan for meals that were delivered to a client on Wednesday.

As snow buried Boulder County Tuesday, many services that are normally relied upon weren’t active. That could have posed a problem for seniors and others with limited mobility. But no one went hungry thanks to the forward thinking of staff at Meals on Wheels.

Meals on Wheels in both Longmont and Boulder shut down operations Tuesday because of the inclement weather and road conditions, and the Boulder County, Boulder and Longmont senior services departments were closed.

However, according to staff with Meals on Wheels, both the Boulder and Longmont branches had contingency plans in place for those that rely on their services.

According to Andrea Ralston, the meal program coordinator for Meals on Wheels Longmont, at the beginning of the colder season, the organization gives out “blizzard bags” to every person to which it delivers.

Longmont Meals on Wheels volunteers Marie Beatty, left, Sally Gaddis and Chris Tanner work to make meal plates on Nov. 27, 2019. Four hundred forty turkey dinner meals were prepared and delivered by volunteers on Wednesday. Additionally 120 frozen meals were delivered and 60 to 80 meals were served at the Longmont Senior Center.

“It’s just in case something like (Tuesday’s storm) happens,” Ralston said. “Yesterday we were not able to deliver, it was too much, and then today we we are making up for that with frozen meals for the ones that we didn’t get to (Tuesday).”

Longmont Meals on Wheels prepared and delivered 440  turkey dinner meals on Wednesday. Additionally 120 frozen meals were delivered and 60 to 80 meals were served at the Longmont Senior Center.

Janean Winseck, who works in client services with Meals on Wheels Boulder, said her branch has a similar plan. Instead of providing extra food at the beginning of the season, though, staff anticipated the storm at the beginning of the week.

“(We delivered) a hot meal on Monday, as well as a frozen meal to get them through the day that we were closed,” Winseck said. “And today we’re delivering a huge turkey dinner with all the fixings … and some of our folks are getting frozen meals to get them through the weekend.”

Professional Home Health Care, a health care agency providing services to home-bound individuals, also had a kind of contingency plan in place for Tuesday’s snow. Janet Puglisi, an administrator and registered nurse with the company, said it triaged visits, prioritizing patients who live alone or require expert attention. She added the company has an emergency procedure that is required by law for organizations providing care to the elderly.

“We have a regular schedule of that, everyone was called to make sure they were OK,” she said. “(On Monday and Tuesday) we made sure that everybody had enough medication and food to get through at least a day, maybe two.”

And though Meals on Wheels and others were prepared for the possibility they wouldn’t be able to deliver, there are other obstacles for people with disabilities and the elderly that are unavoidable.

Chris O’Brien, director of development for the Center for People With Disabilities, an organization that helps those with disabilities live independently, said slippery and covered walkways, buried curb cuts and slippery conditions can make getting around with canes or wheelchairs treacherous.

“Additionally … public transportation becomes very hard to access, because bus stops and sidewalks aren’t cleared, and they depend on that,” O’Brien said, adding that even crosswalks are harder to access, as well, along with ride-sharing apps and mobility services such as Via.

O’Brien said these problems can make it difficult to access necessary resources like medication, medical services or food, especially for those living by themselves.

Lisa Nelson, the director of core services at the Center for People With Disabilities, suggested a number of solutions that can help those with mobility or health issues through serious weather.

In Longmont and Boulder, residents have 24 hours to remove snow and ice after a storm, which can be difficult for those with mobility issues.

“One of the options for individuals is to call code enforcement,” she said. “…if that isn’t happening in a timely manner, they can call the city directly for that.”

She added that Cultivate, a volunteer organization that aids elders, runs a program called Snow Busters that will pair up a senior with a volunteer who can shovel their walk or driveway when it snows.

Nelson also suggested those who rely on life-supporting medical devices contact their utility company to put their names on a list prioritizing their home when power comes back on.

“If they utilize the electricity for durable medical equipment like an oxygen machine that’s really essential for their health and safety, they can call their electrical provider and have their name added to a list of individuals who more heavily rely on the electrical system,” she said.

Meals on Wheels

For more information on Meals on Wheels Boulder, visit or call 303-441-3908

For more information on Meals on Wheels Longmont, visit or call 303-772-0540.

Both organizations are closed until Monday.

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