Manatee Meals on Wheels volunteer's visit was a lifesaver

BAY NEWS 9October 14, 2013 

Manatee Meals on Wheels volunteer Deborah Jewett (left) was delivering a meal to Barbara Buchanan recently when it just happened that Buchanan was having a medical emergency. Jewett summoned help. BAY NEWS 9

A volunteer with Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee is being called a hero.

While Deborah Jewett was delivering meals recently, she saved a woman's life.

"I really believe she, perhaps, would not have made it," Jewett said. "I don't know if that's the case, but I was happy to be there."

Jewett said while trying to deliver a meal to one of her clients, she became very concerned. She said she knocked on Barbara Buchanan's door several times, but the woman never answered.

"They instruct us at Meals on Wheels if we can't get them, leave a hanger on the door," Jewett said. "But Barbara, I know, like many of my people are shut-in, they don't go off. So if she's not answering the door, I know something's got to be wrong."

Jewett was right. Buchanan was inside her home, unable to breathe.

"Breathing to the extent to fighting to breathe," Buchanan said. "It's not fun."

Eventually, Buchanan made it to the door, mouthing the word "ambulance."

Now, as she recovers, she says she's very grateful for her daily visits.

"I think Deborah helped save my life," Buchanan said.

For many clients, this meal is their only contact with the outside world. The volunteers are an extra set of eyes and ears in the community.

"It's a critical role, and we couldn't do what we do without them," said Maribeth Phillips, CEO Meals on Wheels Plus. "We're so grateful to our volunteers."

It's a volunteer meal delivery service that's proving to be very beneficial to the community. There are around 300 volunteers with Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee. They deliver approximately 750 meals a day.

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