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United Way agency lends a hand
Concerted Services helps Boro's Sarah Smith and others
United Way fro Web
Sarah Smith, right, receives a daily meal from a Concerted Services worker recently at her Statesboro home. United Way helps fund Concerted Services, which delivers meals to dozens of Bulloch residents every day. - photo by Special

            She spent her lifetime in service to others. Forty years in the classroom teaching math and science. Another 10 years as a substitute teacher after retirement.

• A volunteer for the Statesboro Library.

• A board member of the Statesboro Beautification Commission. 

• A board member of Homebound Services.  An original pink lady for Bulloch Memorial Hospital.

• She was admired by her students and was named Teacher of the Year at William James and Statesboro High School. 

            Now Sarah Ayers Smith, at the age of 86, says she is on the receiving end of humanitarian service and is enjoying the rewards of it.

            Every day at around noon, Sarah gets a knock on her door and a balanced meal delivered to her home on the west side of Statesboro. Provided by Concerted Services, a United Way agency, the meals get delivered to 90 people in our community that need the Meals on Wheels program. 

            “Three years ago I fell and broke my right wrist," Smith said. "Both my sons live in other cities and they realized at that time I needed assistance. "

            Her oldest son, who is a cardiologist, contacted the Agency on Aging and they referred him to Concerted Services. 

            “I qualified for the services and began receiving them in 2005,” she said.

            The petite, 4 foot 11 inch, retired educator is diabetic and insulin dependent, has high blood pressure, osteoporosis, angina, and diabetic kidney disease.

            “When I worked full-time I always said I was never going to rush to do anything when I retired,” Smith said.

            Nowadays, it takes her two hours each morning to take her medication. 

            “I check my blood sugar, take my insulin, then I wait 30 minutes before I eat," she said. "Then I have oatmeal, coffee, and a muffin and sit for one full hour and eat my breakfast while watching television.”

            She said it was not exactly what she bargained for when she said she didn’t want to be in a hurry. “Other elderly people will understand this totally…it’s a pain to take all these medications,” she said.   

            But the prescriptions keep her health in check and she is thankful that volunteers are in her home on a daily basis for check-ins as well. 

            “When they bring in my meals, in a way they are looking after me,” Smith said.  “They are very observant. They ask am I feeling OK. They inquire if there is any thing they can do for me."

            It is comforting for Smith to know that since her family is not here others can fulfill a need she has.

            The food that is served daily is prepared by McDaniel Vending of Jesup.  Their drivers deliver the food in special insulated containers in order to maintain safe temperatures as mandated by food service regulations. 

            Once the food gets to Statesboro, it goes immediately into Concerted Services’ steam table. The food is put into carry-out trays, sealed and packed in insulated containers with hot bottles to maintain the temperature. 

            “Our drivers deliver meals to our clients between the hours of 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.,” said Mary Phillips, director of Concerted Services. “In addition to delivering meals, CSI drivers develop a rapport with their clients and provide assistance with day-to-day tasks when needed. This is so important, because the drivers may be the only people our homebound clients come in contact with on a daily basis.” 

            Their volunteer base also includes adult Sunday school members from two Statesboro churches as well as several individuals from the community at-large.

            As Sarah lovingly speaks of her late husband H.W.B. Smith, Jr., she recalls the many years that he served as a volunteer on United Way’s allocations board, making decisions about how funds would be allocated to each agency. 

            “Now I am a recipient of all of this.  He would be proud that United Way continues to touch our lives,” she said.

            Concerted Services is one of 20 agencies in Bulloch County that receive funding from United Way.  In addition to providing nutritious meals for homebound clients, Concerted Services, Inc. offers other programs to promote self-sufficiency among low-income residents of Bulloch County.  In addition, the agency administers Energy Assistance Programs, distributes USDA Commodities, and makes referrals to other social service agencies within the community as needed. .  If you would like to give to United Way, send your tax deductible contribution to United Way of Southeast Georgia, 515 Denmark St., Suite 1100, Statesboro, GA  30458

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