The Meals On Wheels program prepares over 550 meals a day for many senior citizens in the valley.
But now one of their vehicles that transport food to their dining sites was stolen in a parking lot outside its main kitchen.
Catholic Charities Program Manager, Laurie Edwards, said, ” We load the vehicles between 8 and 9. And they’re temperature-controlled as we’re loading the food. So we leave them running. And one of the drivers went out and said there’s a vehicle missing but all the drivers are in the kitchen. So they notified me and I called 911 but the vehicle was already gone. ”
Commander Ray Bonillas , of the El Centro Police Department, said they’re working with international authorities in hopes of finding the stolen vehicle.
Bonillas said, ” We were notified by Calexico that the vehicle had actually entered and that was about 10 a.m. that morning. At this point, we’re working to see what we can do. Like I said it’s been assigned to our investigations unit and we’ll go from there. ”
Edwards said that it could take months for the program to receive a new vehicle. The program was loaned a temporary vehicle but it doesn’t come with a unit to keep the food hot or cold.
” Well as the temperatures rise I’m concerned about the temperature control. Because if it gets below 140 then that could be a problem, ” said Edwards.
Many senior citizens, like Lupe Viegas , who aren’t able to cook for themselves, or get to the store, rely on the Meals On Wheels daily.
” All the time because here we come every day. All the time we depend. Everybody depends on the meal here, ” said Viegas .
Resident David Camarena , who also participates in the program, said Meals on wheels also provide a chance for friendships.
Camarena said, ” You know that’s one of the most important things when they get together to get to know each other. So that’s the reason why we’re here. ”
Edwards said that while she doesn’t expect the vehicle to be recovered, it’s unfortunate that someone would take a vehicle that does so much for the senior community.