A virtuous cycle on ‘Wheels’

Published 8:30 pm Saturday, September 17, 2016

Fittingly, a group of volunteers for Suffolk’s Meals on Wheels organization, was honored this week at a meal.

More than 100 volunteers attended an appreciation dinner at the Hilton Garden Inn on Thursday. Many of them received awards for having reached milestones in their years of service, with one of them, Toni Taylor, having worked 20 years for the 29-year-old organization in Suffolk.

Meals on Wheels provides two meals a day to 141 clients in the Suffolk and Isle of Wight areas every weekday. But the service is about more than meals.

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Robert Crocker, 78, who has been delivering meals for 15 years, said the volunteers help keep an eye on recipients who might be elderly, shut-in or disabled. “We may be the only people they see or contact all day,” he said. “They really appreciate the moments you sit down and talk with them.”

The personal contact is something that sets Meals on Wheels apart, something that makes it about more than just attending to the physical needs of its clients, though that happens, too. Through the personal attention, clients’ emotional and social health are also addressed, and doing so, in turn, can help improve their physical health, too. It’s something of a virtuous cycle.

And that virtuous cycle owes itself to the caring people like Taylor and Crocker who give so freely of their time every weekday to deliver meals to people who sometimes look forward to the visits as much as to the food.

Congratulations to all the volunteers, and thanks for your service.