SKOWHEGAN — Eurline Perkins likes to celebrate Christmas all year long.

Handmade Christmas ornaments she receives as part of a Spectrum Generations’ Meals on Wheels program are on display in her home 12 months of the year, she said this week.

“I think they’re cute. They make me feel happy. I like ’em,” Perkins, 84, said. The little handcrafted angels, Christmas stockings and candy canes are delivered each year as part of the agency’s Christmas Ornament Project. “I hang ’em up and leave ’em all year. They come like Christmas presents.”

Perkins has lived alone with her little dog, Buddy, since the passing of her longtime companion, Richard Hanscom, in 2011. Visits by Meals on Wheels drivers and the arrival of the Christmas ornaments are always welcome and the company is appreciated, she said.

Perkins’ granddaughter, Elizabeth Chipman, 20, of St. Albans, said the fact that people are visiting her grandmother a couple days a week also is comforting.

“Her family likes that they come, to know there’s someone going to be here during the day,” Chipman said. “It gives us a little bit of peace of mind knowing she’ll have someone coming into the house twice a week, so we know she has someone visiting on the days when we have to work and can’t come.”

Perkins has lived in the same house on a small side street in Skowhegan for about 50 years.

The meals are delivered on Tuesdays and Thursdays by more than 30 volunteer drivers in northern Kennebec and Somerset counties alone.

Perkins said the nutritious meals are “pretty good — and it gets so I’m eating some things that I should.”

Perkins has four children, 11 grandchildren and several great grandchildren.

Spectrum Generations collaborates with volunteers at local schools and organizations throughout the agency’s six-county service area to make hundreds of handcrafted ornaments to be delivered to homebound and disabled adults over the holidays, said Ashley Conners, regional nutrition assistant for the Meals on Wheels program.

“It’s the local schools, surrounding community members, Girl Scouts, after-school programs that donate the ornaments, and we give them to our Meals on Wheels drivers who deliver them,” Conners said. “We have been doing the ornament project for 10 years. This program is agency wide, and everybody gets an ornament.”

Meals on Wheels also delivers special “storm packs” for when the weather turns bad and the volunteer drivers can not make it to all the homes on their twice-weekly route. The packs contain two juice boxes, tuna salad, beef stew, crackers, applesauce, oatmeal and two desserts.

Spectrum Generations delivers meals to about 120 people in the Skowhegan area, but the agency has offices and delivery locations all over central and eastern Maine from Jackman to coastal Belfast, Augusta and Waterville — about 1,700 homebound adults. More than 200,000 meals are delivered each year as part of the program that began in 1977.

The home office is in Augusta.

Individuals and businesses can support the ornament project with cash donations to support the cost of preparing and delivering hot Meals on Wheels meals with a handmade ornament or card during the holidays. A donation of $5 per ornament will go toward the cost of a meal for one day, $25 for a week of meals, and $100 would support meals for one homebound senior for almost a month.

Area residents also can sponsor a Christmas ornament with a $4 donation. Each ornament is individually tagged with the names of the craftsman and the person who donated money to make it, Conners said.

“The recipients hang them for the year — it’s not just a Christmas ornament,” Conners said. “It’s something that stays up in their house all year. Our drivers notice that the ornaments don’t disappear throughout the year. The look on some of the faces that we get from our Meals on Wheels consumers is really a sight to behold for sure for the holiday season.”

Donations can be made by visiting the agency’s website. or by contacting one of the Spectrum Generations offices in Maine.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter: @Doug_Harlow


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