BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WFRV) - According to health experts, the elderly population is especially susceptible to cold weather. But one local program is helping keep some out of the cold with a hot meal.
Volunteers with Meals on Wheels worked Monday to package more than 300 hot, healthy meals for the elderly across Brown County. On the menu -- meatloaf and mashed potatoes.
"There's a lot of people that go on during the winter months especially," explained Program Director Sandy Groeschel. "And then in summer time, when they're able to get out more and walk, it goes down a little bit."
Chris Reagin and her husband Larry volunteer for Meals on Wheels.
"I sometimes think this is the only meal they'll get," Chris said. "It's hot, it's nutritious."
And it keeps seniors indoors when temperatures drop.
"Our volunteers are our eyes and our ears on what they need," Groeschel added. "If the furnace is not working, they report that back to us and we'll get someone in there to help them."
That's extremely important when temperatures drop dangerously low. Doctors say the elderly are especially affected by this bitter cold.
Dr. Ryan Murphy works in the Aurora BayCare Emergency Room. He said the elderly don't always have proper ways to cope with the cold.
"A lot of times, they're on medications that prevent that," Dr. Murphy explained. "Medications may prevent shivering, which is your body's way of warming yourself back up. They may be on medications that slow your heart rate so that you can't compensate for the cold with that."
For Chris Reagin, days like this are a chance to give a warm smile to someone who may need it most.
"I'll help them out as much as I can," added Chris.