Thursday morning April 26, 2024, U.S. Congressman Nick Langworthy got an up close view at the impact the organization has on its clients.

Langworthy met with volunteers at Meals on Wheels on Thursday to discuss the services the organization provides. He then hopped in a car and helped deliver meals to several homes in the Fredonia area.

“I was thrilled to get the invitation,” Langworthy said, calling Meals on Wheels “a critical piece of infrastructure.”

Langworthy spoke with several volunteers and members of Meals on Wheels, including Pacos, Kerry Askin, Donna Metzger, and Mary Dee, among others. He thanked the volunteers for what they do for the region.

U.S. Congressman Nick Langworthy delivered meals to clients of Meals on Wheels on Thursday.

“They are delivering nutritious food to our seniors. It’s going to help them age in their homes, and it’s something that ties the community together,” Langworthy said.

As a member of the House Committee on Agriculture, Langworthy noted the importance of providing nutritious food during “a time where inflation is crippling.”

Meals on Wheels has a private pay program with a sliding fee scale, along with a state and federally funded program through the Office for the Aging. Langworthy spoke Thursday to the proposed 2024 Farm Bill, which would bolster WIC and SNAP benefits and “provides a safety net that communities like Chautauqua County need.” He told volunteers, “I know that our district is very dependent on these nutrition programs.”

After he met with the volunteers, Langworthy hopped in a vehicle and went off to deliver meals to clients around Fredonia.

“We got to meet some seniors that clearly are very appreciative,” Langworthy said.

U.S. Congressman Nick Langworthy, right, speaks to Deb Pacos, Executive Director of Dunkirk-Fredonia Meals on Wheels.

One client Langworthy met was a 91-year-old woman who thanked him for visiting and joked that she would remember it come the November election. Another client he met was an 89-year-old woman who moved to Fredonia from New Hampshire. She welcomed Langworthy into her home and spoke to him in her living room about her Catholic upbringing.

“They get isolated. … It might be the only knock on the door they get,” Langworthy said of the importance of the program. “Someone checking in on them, making sure they are OK, bringing them breakfast and lunch, it means a lot.”

Langworthy made a point to the volunteers that he later took action on in delivering meals himself. Rather than using the term “food insecurity,” Langworthy emphasized the importance of stressing that people are hungry.

“We don’t want to see anybody in the greatest country in the world ever go hungry,” Langworthy said.