By Pat Byington
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.
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 five days a week.
Previously, Meals On Wheels served hot meals out of the old Cooper Green Mercy Health Services kitchen. This time around, United Way has built a brand-new kitchen at the Alice Williams Building, 3600 8th Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35222.
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 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.
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,” 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.
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 www.mowjeffco.org
For more on the modern, mobile guide to Birmingham, visit www.bhamnow.com