BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - It's not surprising that 88 year old Natalie Cahoon, a 66 year resident of Berkeley Heights, took her stimulus check received from the CARES Act and donated 125 meals from Dimaios to feed the SAGE Meals on Wheels clients.

"Natalie is absolutely amazing and has been delivering and helping in our kitchen every single day since this COVID-19 pandemic started," said Amy Stuart, Community Program and Volunteer Coordinator for SAGE Eldercare. "Just last week, she went to the farmers market in New Providence and purchased 150 bananas for our clients since they are not getting any fresh fruit now." 

"During these trying times, SAGE has seen an increase in requests for Meals on Wheels," said Cahoon. "My favorite restaurant in Berkeley Heights is Dimaios. Having received the CARES government money, what better way to spend it than to have Dimaios prepare meals for SAGE’s Meals on Wheels clients." 

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Tami and Sal Passalacqua agreed to prepare 125 hot delicious meals by 10 a.m. for the volunteers of SAGE to deliver to Meals on Wheels clients. "It is a win-win situation. My part is merely as a facilitator," said Cahoon.

Sal Passalacqua is appreciative of his longtime customer. While his inside dining room will likely remain shuttered through most of the summer, his take-out businesses has kept his Springfield Avenue restaurant open. "If you can make it through this, you can make it through anything," he said. And, clients like Natalie continue to amaze him. She just "wants to see them stay in business."

Senior citizens are at a higher risk of severe symptoms with a lethal outcome caused by complications with COVID-19. Cahoon told TAPinto that she has a strong immune system and is very healthy. "At age 88, I have experienced many life threatening situations and, using precautions against the pandemic, I felt comfortable continuing volunteering to deliver Meals on Wheels," she said. 

"SAGE is following the recommendations of national, state and local officials and health agencies," said Stuart. "We are taking precautions to minimize exposure and practice social distancing.  Our primary consideration has and always will be the health and safety of our team, our volunteers and the participants that we serve."

Cahoon has been a volunteer with the SAGE Eldercare's Meals on Wheels program for 17 years. She became interested in volunteering with SAGE as a thank you for the good care the live-in nurse provided to her mother. "I brought her down to New Jersey from Boston, to live a great life to age 100," she said. 

Cahoon was a chemist with CIBA for 38 years and has a history of volunteering. Prior to volunteering with SAGE, she volunteered years with the Federal Credit Union of CIBA, and then Novartis.

To learn more about SAGE Meals on Wheels or to talk about other way to help, call 908.273.5554.