DMy blog is typically to review restaurants, food, service and accessibility. Today, i’m taking a different ‘spin’ and am writing about Meals on Wheels. I first became familiar with the program back in the ’80’s. I was a student at UT and i would ride the Capitol Metro ‘special transit’ system to go to and fro. We would often go pick up people at Senior Centers. They would get on the bus with most holding a styrofoam container with a meal from Meals on Wheels. Sometimes one of the elderly would give me their food because they didn’t want it. When I got home I could understand why. The food was cold, bland and unappetizing. The whole thing didn’t leave me with a good impression.
Fast forward present time. My brother Richard who lives in Dallas with his family called and asked me if I could set up some volunteer hours for Nina for her confirmation. I happen to be a member on several boards of nonprofit organization’s one of them being HAND (Helping the Aged, Needy and Disabled). HAND recently became a part of Meals on Wheels, thus I had the opportunity to meet the CEO of Meals on Wheels, Dan Pruett on several occasions. I found him to be an amazing man with passion, vision and a true humanitarian. I decided that Meals on Wheels would be a good opportunity for Nina to be of service. I contacted the volunteer Coordinator who immediately set us up for training. The training lasted about 30 minutes and after that we were taken to the central kitchen where we were given our assigned routes and the food.
I was very impressed at how well organized the routes were and the food with different colored dots which told us what to give to whom. The routes were close together, so it wasn’t like we had to criss-cross around town. We were often done in 45 minutes.
I drove while Nina set up the GPS. We would arrive, Nina got the food according to instructions and went to the door to deliver. Most of the residents were friendly and grateful. Nina even checked the mail for one lady and took a trash bag out for another person (your allowed to help at your discretion). A couple of people didn’t come to the door so as directed, we called the coordinator and within minutes a phone call was made and the person came to the door.
I have to say the food has definitely improved since my ’80’s experience. One day it was ginger beef with jasmine rice, sauteed zucchini and squash and banana pudding, bread/roll, milk and fruit. One day it was meatloaf and mashed potatoes, another hamburger….the food is in compartmental trays with a sealed cover. There were some meals Nina and i went ‘ooohhhh’.
I think what the experience left me with, and hopefully Nina too, is how good it feels to be of service. To feed, care for and be there for our senior community, a community that oft-times is neglected. One of the things they told us in training was how many of the MOW recipients are isolated and lonely. Sometimes the MOW volunteer is the only contact they have all day.
On our last day, Friday, we went to a church on Berkman Dr. We had a list of 20 people. This meant alot of food we had to pack and carry! However, they were all at The Primrose Senior Apartments so we parked in the main guest lot, got the food according to building and delivered.
I can’t say how much I appreciate this amazing non-profit organization. The organization has expanded to include other services which is why it’s now called Meals on Wheels and More. They offer minor home repairs, grocery shopping for those who can still cook but can’t go to the store, P.A.L.S which helps with pets and now with HAND, they can provide attendant care!
Meals on Wheels rocks and rolls!