At 2am on every day of the week, a team of food preparers arrives at a gigantic kitchen in downtown Austin and starts preparing hot meals for people all over the city. Meals on Wheels and More seeks to "nourish and enrich the lives of the homebound and other people in need through programs that promote dignity and independent living."
Our family toured the facility this morning (at 9am, not 2am!). We watched as meals were assembled and met the CEO & other members of the staff. Meals on Wheels Austin serves over one million meals each year to people in the Austin area who are unable to shop for and prepare nourishing meals on their own.
Meals on Wheels has kitchens and volunteers in every state in the USA. You have probably seen their logo on a truck or driven by a facility. What you may not know is that this organization provides much more then food. The volunteers who deliver the meals are given specific routes. A typical volunteer driver will work once a week on an hour route. He or she will deliver to the same people each week, leaning the names of each person on their route, and eventually developing relationships with them.
Besides hot meals, Meals on Wheels in Austin offers an expanding list of other resources. One of them we thought was neat was the Care Calls Program. This program matches homebound clients with "Phone Friends" who call either once a day for a friendly check-in or twice a week for a longer chat.
We were impressed with Meals on Wheels, partly because of the feat of making so many meals, but even more so for the personal relationships that are developed out of the programs for lonely seniors and homebound individuals.
Have you ever volunteered with Meals on Wheels? Search a list of national programs to find a program in your area.
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