Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Bart Walton is a recent transplant to the Fairfield community, having moved here with his wife a year ago.
It didn't take long for Walton to get plugged into the volunteer scene in town. Walton had been a hospice volunteer for nearly 30 years and wanted to continue that tradition in Fairfield. But that was in the spring 2020, and before long all hospice home visits were canceled because of the pandemic.
Walton thought he would just wait until the virus passed and start volunteering for hospice later in the year. But the virus hung around, so he sought other volunteering opportunities by contacting John Miller, the coordinator of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program in Jefferson County. Miller put him in touch with Meals on Wheels, which delivers food to homebound older adults. Walton started delivering meals a few months ago, and now does it every Friday and sometimes other days if he needs to fill in.
The meals are made at a kitchen in the Fairfield Community Center, and Walton delivers them to 14-15 clients in the area.
'Many of our clients are not well, are on oxygen and can't get up,” Walton said. 'They really depend on these meals, especially this time of year.”
Walton said everyone is thankful for the meals. Some like to strike up a conversation with Walton while he's there because they have so few opportunities for social interaction.
'One woman, who is 95, has no relatives in town and has outlived all of her friends,” Walton said. 'She's got nobody left, and she really appreciates me dropping by every week.”
Walton likes to help his clients with odd jobs they can't do on their own. Sometimes it's as simple as opening a jar or replacing a light bulb. Other times, he will give clients a ride to the drugstore to get their medications.
- Andy Hallman