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Volunteers Give Seniors Free Meals

IOWA CITY, IA (CBS2/FOX28) -- While many of us got the chance to enjoy Thanksgiving with family today, nearly 160 eastern Iowa senior citizens did not.

But thanks to a group of volunteers, those seniors got a free or low-cost meal from Elder Services, Inc., either at the Senior Center or Emerson Point Assisted Living in Iowa City, or through its Meals-on-Wheels service.

Elke Nelson said she and her family had a lot to toast to, and it all started early this morning when the power went out in their Iowa City home.

"I said to myself, 'Thanks God we don't have a turkey in the oven right now,'" Nelson said.

They're thankful for a good meal, "and electricity and friends and people who volunteer," she said.

Volunteers like Marlene and Ted Knopp, who came out to eat with the friends they've made through their time at the center. Marlene said meals like this help seniors get out of their homes, and that can be important.

"It's easy to isolate yourself when you're old. I can see the trend, if I myself didn't get out and come," Marlene said.

Out of the 160 meals served on Thursday, 62 of them went out through the Meals-on-Wheels program, highlighting just how important it is.

Tom and Mush Zapf saw that first-hand. They spent the morning delivering food to those who couldn't make it to the center.

"It's just something very simple for us to do, just drive around and deliver food, but some of these people are so appreciative to have somebody do it, and full of thanks, so it makes you feel good," said Tom Zapf.

And with volunteers in the kitchen, the staff of the Senior Center got the day off, too.

"It's great to bring some cheer. People are very grateful," said Iowa City Noon Optimist member Henry Herwig.

Elder Services is always looking for more volunteers, representatives said. People can find out more by calling (319) 338-0515 and asking for Mickey.
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