Meals on Wheels will resume daily deliveries in January 2022—500 volunteers needed

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United Way Meals on Wheels volunteers. Photo via United Way of Central Alabama

Beginning in January 2022, United Way’s Meals on Wheels (MOW) in Jefferson County will resume daily hot meal deliveries for homebound seniors. 

To make this happen, MOW needs 500 people to volunteer in the next two months. That’s not a misprint—500.

Want to become a volunteer?  Learn what it takes to become a MOW volunteer and sign up today.

Meals on Wheels Back to Full Strength

United Way
United Way Meals on Wheels volunteers. Photo via United Way of Central Alabama

First, some background: since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, MOW had to change the way it did business. Instead of delivering meals daily, they provided a week’s worth of meals one day a week. 

Thanks to increased vaccination rates and additional information about how to prevent transmission of the virus, Meals on Wheels is returning to delivering hot meals 5 days a week.

Previously, Meals On wheels served hot meals out of the old Cooper Green Hospital Kitchen. This time around, United Way has built a brand new kitchen at the Alice Williams Building, 3600 8th Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35222, to get things back rolling.

Volunteering Makes a Difference

Delivering meals to home-bound seniors is rewarding. Just ask MOW “Super Volunteer” Natalie Joseph, a UAB immunology student from Nashville, Tennessee.

Joseph first began volunteering at MOW back in February 2021. She started off slowly, inserting juice boxes into meal bags and then loading boxes with a week’s-worth of meals into cars. 

United Way
United Way Meals on Wheels volunteer Natalie Joseph at Princeton Towers. Photo via United Way of Central Alabama

Eventually, she began making deliveries. Now, every Wednesday, she takes meals to Birmingham’s Princeton Towers where 10 MOW participants eagerly await her arrival.

“It means a lot to the seniors—not only to get the food but also to see someone. Since a lot of them are homebound, it’s nice to connect with them and give them an opportunity to chat,” Natalie Joseph told Bham Now while she loaded her car with MOW meals. “This is actually one of the first volunteer activities I have started doing. For me it is my introduction to service.”

The 10 seniors Joseph delivers to each week are now her friends.

“For many seniors, the delivery volunteer is the only person they may see during the day,” MOW Director Becky Wright said.

Meals on Wheels deliveries provide more than just a meal. Consistent access to nutritious foods improves the effectiveness of medications and helps seniors stay healthy and strong. Every knock at the door delivers food, compassion and the caring contact that our aging neighbors need.

Volunteers Needed

United Way
United Way Meals on Wheels volunteers. Photo via United Way of Central Alabama

The success of Meals on Wheels is dependent on volunteers who drive 50+ routes to homebound seniors throughout Jefferson County. MOW isn’t simply a want; it’s a desperate need in the community.

Volunteer schedules are flexible and take about an hour to deliver hot, lunchtime meals to homebound seniors Monday-Friday. Delivery volunteers are required to complete a background check.

“If you want to start volunteering,  go ahead and jump into it,” Joseph advised future MOW volunteers. “There’s no way to really mess it up. Just follow. It’s about caring, loving and helping out your community.”

Find out how you can deliver a difference by visiting mowjeffco.org today.

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Pat Byington
Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.
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