Volunteers keep Meals’ wheels rolling

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 30, 2005

Five days a week, dozens of volunteers from across the local area come to Obici Hospital and collect hundreds of pounds of food. Loading it into their cars, they drive around Suffolk, Isle of Wight, Zuni and Windsor, delivering it to residents who don’t have the luxury of getting around like they once did. People who need a little extra help sometimes.

But delivering appetizers isn’t the best part of being a Meals on Wheels volunteer, said six-year veteran Kathleen Starling.

&uot;You meet the nicest people,&uot; Starling said. &uot;I love it. I truly love it. Most people just need somebody to say, ‘I care about you.’ I get more out of it than they do. When I go out, I always come away feeling like I’ve done something worthwhile, just by being a friend.&uot;

Email newsletter signup

For the past seven years, Shirley Crocker has been carrying meals around the Windsor area.

&uot;It’s the only time that they really get contact with the outside world,&uot; Crocker said of her &uot;customers.&uot;

&uot;They want to talk to you, and they appreciate any comments you have to make.&uot;

On Thursday evening, Starling, Crocker and the rest of the roughly 300 other area volunteers got special thanks at the Meals on Wheels volunteer recognition dinner at Bethlehem Christian Church.

&uot;A lot of the (clients) don’t get proper nourishment because they’re not able to prepare it or go get it,&uot; said chairman Hugh West. &uot;This is solely for the purpose of saying, ‘Thank you.’ These people give their time, use their own automobile and pay for their own gas, and that in and of itself is very special today.&uot;

Volunteers serve 65 people two meals a day – one a hot meals with a snack, the other a cold meal.

&uot;You get a good feeling when you’re done for the day,&uot; said Michelle Martin, 12. &uot;You’re helping people out, giving them something they need.&uot;

Ruby Thompson, Lynn Barlow, Brooke Pitt’s family of six, and Barbara Label were given Volunteer of the Quarter awards, and Label, a Chuckatuck resident, was named the year’s top volunteer.

&uot;I love the contact with the people,&uot; said Label, who has been delivering for four years. &uot;It’s a well-run organization. It makes the people happy, and it makes me happy. They love talking to you. They want to talk to you about everything.&uot;