A hot meal and friendship

Published 8:03 pm Friday, September 18, 2009

For a couple of hundred residents of Western Tidewater, a daily knock on the door means a couple of hot meals and maybe even a brief time of companionship.

Meals on Wheels delivers about 400 hot meals each day to residents of Suffolk and Isle of Wight. Recipients — some of whom are homebound — pay for the food, but they get the friendly interaction for free.

For the hundreds of volunteers who provide the service, the payoff is in the smiles they get from their clients, many of whom look forward to the visits as the only human interaction they get in an average day. It’s a rewarding mission, volunteers say.

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On Thursday, the organization honored its volunteers with a banquet and awards ceremony. Some of those kind souls have worked with Meals on Wheels for as long as 15 years. Others, such as 14-year-old Dianna Taylor, have just begun helping out.

All of them are to be commended for their service to their community and to the surprising number of people living here who are unknown and unseen by their neighbors.

Most folks drive by these homes every day without even a thought as to who might be sitting in a rocking chair behind closed curtains. The Meals on Wheels volunteers, however, help care for them in body and spirit. Surely it’s not always an easy job to do, and the fact that it’s done on a volunteer basis makes it an even more laudable effort.

One thing that programs such as Meals on Wheels proves is that it doesn’t take all that much to help out a neighbor in need — just a willingness to see beyond oneself and a desire to make the world a little bit better.