Ruland at home in Milford, NH. (Photo by Cheryl Senter.)

Ruland at home in Milford, NH. (Photo by Cheryl Senter.)

Staying home, with dignity — and a hot meal

Meals on Wheels of St. Joseph Community Services provides meal delivery and critical safety checks to 1,900 elders and people with disabilities in Hillsborough County

Ruland was born on November 13, 1915. He came home to Amherst Street in Milford wrapped in a buffalo robe and riding by horse and buggy. He went to school here, played center field for the Milford Town Team, picked apples and cut ice, served in the Army Tank Corps during World War II, drove trucks for a living, married, raised three children.

Ruland has lived on Amherst Street for 101 years. He has no desire to move.

Meals on Wheels of St. Joseph Community Services helps Ruland stay in his tidy home, with its pressed-tin ceilings and polished woodwork and the rugs his wife hooked by hand.

Five days a week, a driver stops in around lunchtime to deliver a hot meal and ask how Ruland is doing. For a number of years, flat federal funding meant those drivers only came four days a week. Grants from the Lois Roy Dickerman Fund and other funds at the Foundation helped reinstate the fifth day of meal delivery and critical safety checks to 1,900 elders and people with disabilities in Hillsborough County.

The meals are worth far more than the sum of their nutritional value.

“I love it here so much that I want to stay here,” Ruland says. “It gives me a chance to live here.”

His favorite meal? He flashes a smile, and does not hesitate: “Liver and onions!”