#DealershipsGivingBack: Meals on Wheels van driver Leon King rolled out on the Rolls Royce of tires on Tuesday. It was his first snowy day driving a Ford van with four new studded snow tires donated by Bailey Ford of Plattsburgh. “We have two vans that we use to deliver food to the northern sites and throughout the city,” Debbie Alexander, Congregate Meals director, said. “So, the van leaves here from Plattsburgh and goes to Ellenburg and Rouses Point. The vans come with an all-season tire, which is not conducive to our winter weather.”
Senior Citizens Council of Clinton County Nutrition Program staff discussed reaching out to get someone to donate snow tires. “Bailey Ford of Plattsburgh is new to our Clinton County,” Alexander said. “Josh Parker and I have known each other for 20 years. He’s the general sales manager. I called Josh at Bailey Ford, and we do have Ford vans. I asked if his dealership might be willing to donate some snow tires for our van.”
Steve Bailey is the dealership owner, and his son, Andrew Bailey, is the general manager. “Josh spoke with Andrew Bailey,” Alexander said. “They agreed to provide the snow tires for our van. We only need snow tires on the one. We rotate them, so it’s not so much on one van. I did only ask for snow tires for one of the vans.” Parker was very familiar with the Nutrition Program.
“We have a customer who delivers Meals on Wheels that we’ve been selling cars to for years and knowing where this customer lives and where she goes, the need for the snow tires we saw was an imminent thing,” he said. “But, they had no money left in the budget. I’ve known Debbie for quite a few years, and she asked if there was a chance that we could do it. She asked for snow tires, but I took it one step further and stud the snow tires for them. Snow tires are good if they’re on Route 374 and Route 3, but they are driving all kinds of back roads and all those side roads in Altona and stuff and they needed something a little bit better so we gave them the studded tires.”
Bailey Ford realized the need for the meals is more important than ever. “Because so many people are being shut-in because of the pandemic and the virus, too,” Parker said. “The Meals on Wheels program has been there for years. It’s just ever so important we provide good and dependable transportation.” Parker called the rear-wheel-drive Transit a wonderful van. “Many people may not be used to driving, but the studded snow tires make it much more controllable in the bad weather moments that we have,” he said.
“Hopefully it will work out well for them as well as for us in the end because they are good customers of ours.” Since the COVID-19 Pandemic, former congregate diners have transitioned to Meals on Wheels. “Because our dining sites are still closed,” Alexander said “We are doing in excess of 400 meals per day. My congregate dining staff obviously is not working at the sites. I only have two of the sites that are open to doing the home-delivered meals, but the rest of them have come to work in the kitchen.” Some congregate staffers have delivered meals.
“I have two now that are making phone calls to our clients just kind of wellness checks,” Alexander said. “See if they need anything, just somebody to talk to. We have been doing that since April. Some folks have said you don’t need to call us anymore, but other folks are grateful for our weekly phone call just to check in to see how they’re doing.” Alexander calls the Congregate Meal kitchen staff amazing.
“They are a well-oiled machine,” she said.
“Even without my extra staff being there, when we were doing congregate we were doing in excess of 500 meals per day. They are amazing back there. They are wonderful. Wonderful.”