Bushnell food delivery program gets new van

Vicki Remy packs every meal for delivery

For decades, the Home Delivered Meals program has provided meals to the community of Bushnell, Illinois.

But that program almost came to an end recently.

Volunteers at the Bushnell Recreational Cultural Center put together the meals.

Vicki Remy has been a volunteer for this program since 1997. Now she serves as its site manager.

Every weekday morning, Remy packs up all of the meals for delivery.

"Some of these people see nobody all day long, except for our person who delivers their meal. And this is the only hot meal they get every day," Remy said.

These meals are delivered to 20 different Bushnell homes, to people like Betty Chase.

"I eat them all. I can eat anything," Chase said.

But the program recently ran into a road bump.

The Red Cross announced it could no longer provide the van.

"The driver and the vehicle that we have been using were provided by the Red Cross program. And the Red Cross program in Macomb will no longer be doing those type of things," Remy said.

The YMCA in McDonough County also plays an administrative role in overseeing this program.

"So we were looking for a vehicle to continue this program," Carla Teslicka, CEO of the YMCA of McDonough County said.

It was a concern for both the volunteers and the residents who depend on the meal service.

Fortunately, a solution was found.

"The ex-chief of police came to me and said, "Jim, I think there is some money in one of the banks here that belongs to the Red Cross." I said ok, and we found $1,600 in a savings account," Bushnell Mayor Jim Evans said. "Our ex-mayor came to me and said, "Jim, I think there is more money some place." So we went back to the bank, found a CD, and it had over $12,000 in it."

The discovery couldn't have come at a better time.

"With that money, we have purchased a van," Evans said "A five-year-old van from a local auto dealer."

And for that, Betty Chase is grateful.

"I'll still take them. I think that's mighty nice to have a hot meal delivered at your door," she said.

The Home Delivered Meals program provides between 400 and 600 meals to Bushnell residents a month.