85-year-old volunteer continues to deliver Mobile Meals to seniors despite pandemic

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DOVER, Ohio (WJW) – Since 1973, Sandra “Tyke” Bichsel has volunteered for the Dover/New Philadelphia Mobile Meals program, and at the age of 85, even in the midst of a global pandemic, she has not skipped a beat.

“We serve around 90 people every day, two meals a day, Monday through Friday,” said Kim Harmon, the administrator of Dover/New Philadelphia Mobile Meals. “There’s a hot meal for lunchtime and then hot soup with a sandwich or a salad and a sandwich for a lighter dinner and then there’s desert and a fruit each day, too. “

“We have gotten lots of thank you notes from them and their family stating that they wouldn’t be able to stay in their home without mobile meals delivering to them. The food is hot and fresh and ready to eat when they get it, so they don’t have to prepare anything for themselves,” she added.

Many of their clients are seniors who cannot or for various reasons should not be out in public.

But each Monday, Bichsel has been there delivering her route, happy to serve her community.

“I didn’t like to start the week out very well after a busy weekend and all the mess that you have at home, so I thought I would do something good for somebody else. Then I feel better because I am doing better than they are,” said Bichsel.

With her husband Jerry driving, she delivered to eight homes on Monday, leaving meals in containers outside the clients’ doors, also exchanging greetings with some of them, like Waldine Krantz.

“It’s wonderful,” Krantz said. “I don’t have to cook anymore, and I cooked for I don’t know how many years and I just really enjoy this.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only impacted seniors who have chosen to stay at home.  It has also impacted the pool of volunteers.

“During COVID, we had a lot of volunteers that went into quarantine and we lost some drivers, we lost some inside volunteers obviously so the dietitians actually helped us out for a while because we didn’t have anyone to help inside,” said Harmon, calling Bichsel a “Godsend.”

Bichsel says her volunteerism has been passed down to several of her seven children who have also volunteered for Mobile Meals efforts

She says she intends to continue volunteering for as long as she can still walk.

“I like people and I like to do things,” she said. “I don’t like to be in a club or anything like that, I just like to do my own thing when I feel like doing it.”

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