Amboy Meals on Wheels moves to new home

Seniors welcome more spacious building for weekly gatherings

By Eric Florip, Columbian transportation & environment reporter

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GET INVOLVED

Click here for a full list of weekly meal sites, including several in Clark County.

GET HELP

To request meals through Meals on Wheels’ home-delivered meal service, people can call 503-736-6325 or click here.

AMBOY — When Frank and Roberta Emerick attended their first Meals on Wheels lunch in Amboy this month, they weren't exactly strangers.

The two have been fixtures in north Clark County for decades. So were many others in the room. In this crowd, they may as well have been regulars.

"Most of these people belong to everything," Roberta said. "That's the way community is."

The seniors who gather every Wednesday for the meal are a close-knit group. They've met weekly in Amboy, one of three regular meal sites in north Clark County served by the Portland-based Meals on Wheels People, for years. But the lunch this month moved into a new home at the Mt. Valley Grange No. 79 building, 40107 N.E. 221st Ave. The gathering had been at the nearby Countree Kitchen restaurant.

The more spacious grange building was a welcome change for those who took part in the first Meals on Wheels lunch there last week. More than an hour before lunch was served, people were already milling about and chatting. Folks helped themselves to coffee. Sandi GeBorde, a satellite manager for Meals on Wheels, worked in the kitchen with a few helping hands.

"For a lot of these people, this is their social event up here," she said. "It gives them a chance to meet people in their community."

It's a family that GeBorde herself has become a part of in more than five years with Meals on Wheels. As she pulled the day's chicken entree out of the oven and prepared it for serving, GeBorde stopped. A familiar face caught her eye.

"Hey, hun!" she called, extending her arms for a hug. "Come here, you!"

For others, the weekly lunch in Amboy is a family affair. Four siblings — brothers Dave, Darrell and Jerry Johnson, plus sister Judy Steigmann — sat at the same table in the grange building last week. The four live near each other in north Clark County and have become regulars at the Amboy lunch.

"We've done a lot of bonding at these lunches," Steigmann said.

The family has lived in the county since the 1940s. Many faces have come and gone in that time, and getting to know those around you isn't as common these days, Jerry Johnson said.

"We don't meet our neighbors like we used to," he said. "It's good to, when we can, meet a new neighbor."

In north county, Meals on Wheels also serves at weekly meal sites in Ridgefield (Tuesdays) and La Center (Mondays and Thursdays). Additional meal sites operate in Battle Ground, Camas, Washougal and Vancouver. The organization also offers home-delivered meals across Clark County and much of the greater Portland area.

Regular meal sites are available to anyone older than 60.

"(We decided) we're old enough now to come to these things," said Roberta Emerick, laughing. Frank, her husband, has lived in north Clark County for all of his 78 years.