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‘Good way to serve’

Volunteers: Longtime volunteers Violet Gomer, left, and Harriet Wills Hunter chat about their experiences with Suffolk Meals on Wheels following a volunteer appreciation banquet held last week. Each has been serving for 17 years.

Meals on Wheels volunteers recognized

Dozens of volunteers who serve others every day had the tables turned on them last week.

Suffolk Meals on Wheels hosted its volunteer appreciation banquet last week at Bethlehem Christian Church, handing out service pins, awards and door prizes for the many who give of their time to help others.

The organization’s board of directors, dressed in black pants and white shirts, served the meal. It was a fitting tribute to those who faithfully show up to serve food every day themselves.

“Without you, it would be tough for the seven or eight waiters we have to make many deliveries,” board member Doug Casey told the volunteers.

Meals on Wheels volunteers deliver two full meals, complete with dessert, each weekday to people in the community who are unable to prepare their own food. Volunteers pick up each day’s meals at Sentara Obici Hospital and make their rounds to clients — currently, a combined 121 households in Suffolk and surrounding communities.

“It’s a good group of people, and they care,” Suffolk Meals on Wheels Executive Director Roseland Worrell said.

The number of clients served by Suffolk Meals on Wheels has nearly doubled since last year’s volunteer banquet, Worrell told the crowd at the banquet. The number of volunteers has kept pace, thanks especially to a recently forged partnership with Suffolk’s North Main Street Walmart store.

“We continue to grow,” Casey told the volunteers. “We are having a positive year. Be thankful that we have the opportunity to serve our fellow man.”

Violet Gomer and Harriet Wills Hunter were recognized at the banquet for being the longest-serving volunteers. They each began delivering meals 17 years ago, the earliest year for which volunteer records were kept.

“When I was a schoolteacher, I heard about Meals on Wheels,” Hunter said. “I said, ‘That’s what I want to do as soon as I retire.’”

She kept her promise to herself and has been delivering ever since. She delivered several times a month when she first started, but has cut down to once a month.

“I appreciate my own health and the fact I can help others,” she said. “It’s a good way to serve.”

As for Gomer, she says she gets more blessing out of the program than her clients do.

“It is my greatest pleasure to be able to do something that makes somebody else’s life better,” she said.

The hospital and the Obici Health Care Foundation also were recognized at the event. The foundation provides funding to the program.

For more information on Suffolk Meals on Wheels, visit www.suffolkmealsonwheels.com or call 934-4911.