Bridging Selma

Meals-on-Wheels Driver Provides Vital Link for Seniors

It was 8 a.m. and the meals were stacked up in trays, wrapped in plastic and waiting for Percy Neely’s wheels. Neely grabbed a list, piled the 26 meals into his van and was off to deliver nutrition to Selma’s senior citizens. Neely isn’t a Selma native, but he knows the sprawling town and every day he can be found at the First Presbyterian Church on Broad Street. The church runs the Broad Street Nutrition Center. Director John Christian, affectionately called “TJ”, created Selma’s version of Meals on Wheels to provide one balanced meal a day to the elderly and disabled members of the community. Recipients have to be at least 60 years old. Registration requires a one-time fee of $1.25. Neely is a delivery driver for Meals on Wheels and on April 29, he had more than 20 houses on a delivery route that wound through the residential streets of Selma. The first stop was at a blue and red house owned by an elderly woman named, Ms. Webb. Her granddaughter answered the door while Webb stayed in bed. “Sometimes the door doesn’t get answered,” Neely said, “Sometimes there will be a note on the door that says ‘leave it outside.’” For most recipients today’s package was a mid-day meal, a platter of steak, mashed potatoes and green peas. For those who are truly housebound, the Meals on Wheels driver is a crucial link to the outside world. “We’re kind of like a lifeline if they can’t afford a telephone,” Christian said. “Some of these folks don’t have a cell phone. So, the people who deliver become their...