Recently, a few of us from Bham Now met before work to find out what it’s like to be a Meals on Wheels volunteer, and we’re here to tell you, it’s a great way to spend a few hours doing good while having fun. Keep reading to find out why you should sign up and how to get involved.
1. Meals on Wheels serves just under 2 THOUSAND homebound seniors *daily* in Jefferson County
When Natalie Zoghby, Operations Coordinator at United Way Meals on Wheels told me that number, I couldn’t believe my ears. While these meals are intended for homebound seniors, it turns out the same nutrition is available for free to anyone over age 60 in Jefferson County at partnering senior centers.
Preparing and delivering that many meals takes a village. Want to get involved?
Sign up to be a kitchen volunteer or go through a background check and become a driver. Drivers pick up food at senior centers and deliver to seniors’ homes.
“We are 100% reliant on our volunteers. We are so thankful we have a very robust volunteer group that is so dedicated, wonderful and kind to our seniors. We would never be able to serve as many people as we do without them.Natalie Zoghby, Volunteer Coordinator, United Way Meals on Wheels
We are so thankful that, especially during COVID, the community really stepped up and helped. We try to make our volunteer opportunities something you can do on your lunch break or with a friend in the afternoon.”
2. Being a Meals on Wheels volunteer is its own reward
When we were there, we met Stacy Bledsoe. She had taken a personal day and was spending four hours of it helping with Meals on Wheels. She’s been the United Way coordinator for the PADCO division at EBSCO for 6-7 years, and has really missed the hands-on involvement that she loves so much during the pandemic.
Even though her company would compensate her for volunteer hours, she said the enjoyment of volunteering is enough:
“I always have been the type of person that wants to help hands on. I grew up in a church where I used to to work in the kitchen or volunteer to help the elders. I’ve always had a passion for helping.”Stacy Bledsoe, Volunteer, Meals on Wheels
3. You can always help stock the pantry as a Meals on Wheels volunteer
Two people at a time can work in the pantry. You’re welcome to purchase food from this Amazon wish list and bring it with you.
4. Groups can volunteer, too
Offices can also organize a drive where people purchase items from an Amazon wishlist (see links above) and have everything shipped directly to United Way Meals on Wheels.
5. Businesses can also donate much-needed items
In addition to all the other ways to get involved, one creative way some businesses support Meals on Wheels is by organizing a drive to purchase commonly-needed household items, such as air conditioners or microwaves.