Meals on Wheels Adds Extra Packages : LUSENET : Responsible Y2K : One Thread

By ROBIN ESTRIN Associated Press Writer

BOSTON (AP) - Some clients of the home delivery ``Meals on Wheels'' programs are getting a little extra this holiday season - ``millennial meals.''

The packages containing additional food, water - even flashlights - just in case there's Y2K-related havoc.

Volunteers in Lynn, Mass., Friday sorted cans of soup, juice, hot chocolate and other goods to bring to their 500 customers, many of whom are elderly and housebound.

Before the end of the year, customers also will receive three additional ``shelf-stable'' meals - goods that can last without refrigeration and a gallon of water.

The Y2K concern is that older computers programmed to read the only the last two digits of a year will misread 2000 and malfunction. If such a glitch occurs, the agency wanted to ensure it had supplied enough food.

``I don't think it's going to happen, but it's just a safeguard that they at least have something on the shelf that they can eat,'' said Sadie Lander, a Meals on Wheels coordinator in Lynn.

A Boston Meals on Wheels provider has been assembling ``Y2K bags'' for its 1,000 customers containing two plastic water bottles, two juice containers, a package of dry milk, two individual portions of apple sauce, two packages of graham crackers and a battery-operated flashlight.

On the brown paper bags are white labels with bold type reading: ``Emergency Supplies. Save on shelf for power failure.''

Adam Kramer, a spokesman for the state's Executive Office of Elder Affairs, said the agency is advising elders and their families to prepare as they would a snowstorm or a long holiday weekend. They suggest having on hand extra cash, batteries, a flashlight and some food.

Meals on Wheels, which receives some public funding but is privately run, is making similar preparations elsewhere for the long holiday weekend when it won't be delivering.

Senior Spectrum, which serves portions of Central Maine, is sending out extra meals for New Year's weekend, as well as for Christmas weekend.

``With these extra meals for both weekends, any of the Meals on Wheels participants should have enough nutritious, both frozen and shelf-stable, meals to get them through any Y2K issues,'' said Kathy Waldo, director of nutrition.

-- Mild Mannered Reporter (clark@super.duper), December 19, 1999

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