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Amazing Meals on Wheels Volunteers
A meal can change a life. That’s the lesson Jimy George and Franke Browne, two Alabama Power employees, have learned as volunteers for United Way of Central Alabama’s Meals on Wheels program.
“To know just a visit and a hot meal can do so much for someone is amazing,” says Browne.
Since 1975, Meals on Wheels has provided 700 meals each day to homebound seniors and people with disabilities, thanks to the help of volunteers like Jimy and Franke. There are about 21,000 seniors in Jefferson County who are homebound and need services. Meals on Wheels is an essential part of meeting that need.
“The first time I got out and about, it was shocking the level of poverty some are living in,” adds Browne.
Alabama Power’s volunteers allow Meals on Wheels to serve approximately 18,500 meals per year according to Becky Wright, Meals on Wheels director of Jefferson County.
“Meals on Wheels is more than just the hot meal. It’s also about having that human contact or interaction,” she adds.
The Meals on Wheels program helps keep seniors in their homes, where they want to be.
United Way’s Meal on Wheels Program Solidifies the Impact it has on Birmingham
When Meals on Wheels of Jefferson County was facing an uncertain future in 2016, United Way of Central Alabama stepped into the gap to ensure that the program did not miss a beat and that the seniors they serve didn’t miss a meal.
“I have been volunteering for the Meals on Wheels program for over nine years, “ says George. “United Way brings a history to supporting the community financially,” he adds, so I believe United Way will solidify the impact that it has and we will be able to expand and feed more meals to people.”
“From a volunteer’s aspect, we get the food and deliver it,” says Browne. “There’s no change.” Though there were concerns among volunteers and recipients alike about the change in management, Franke says that United Way “did not drop the ball at all.”
For George, that means much more to the recipients than a simple meal. “One of the clients on my route is a 90-year old man who told me that all of his friends have either passed away or can’t be in touch with him anymore,” he says. “I told him that he sees one of us every day and that we are his friends. That, I think, makes a huge difference to him.”
George states that Meals on Wheels is an easy volunteer opportunity and that “anyone who has a tug in their heart” can have a big impact on their community. That opportunity through his employer has not only given George more job satisfaction, but a new outlook on life.