Meals on Wheels celebrates volunteers

Published 6:15 pm Thursday, September 13, 2018

More than 100 Suffolk Meals on Wheels volunteers gathered in the banquet hall of the Hilton Garden Inn Riverfront Thursday evening to be celebrated.

Volunteers hitting specific milestones — one, five, ten, 15, 20 and 25 years of service — were recognized and presented with pins to commemorate their anniversaries.

“Without the volunteers, we would not be able to exist,” said Executive Director Roseland Worrell. “We wouldn’t be able to provide affordable meals to our recipients. They give their time, gas and their cars.”

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The duty of a Meals on Wheels volunteer is simple — to deliver warm meals to those in need.

But their actual job is so much more than that. Every volunteer is a delivery person, a handyman, a mailman and, most importantly, a friend.

Volunteers sometimes are the only face that some recipients see for days on end, and it can make all the difference in the world.

“The deliveries mean so much more, because they are the face they see every day,” Worrell said. “Sometimes, they even pick up their groceries or get their mail. It’s the little things in life.”

Worrell’s volunteers are people she holds close to her heart, and she knows that the ones giving their time to Meals on Wheels are special. She believes they are special because they give their time not just to her organization but to others as well.

“Our volunteers are the people with giving hearts. The people that deliver also volunteer elsewhere,” Worrell said. “That’s why if you want someone to volunteer you have to get someone that is busy.”

She estimates that roughly 90 percent of her volunteers also volunteer somewhere else.

Not only are her volunteers dedicated, but her volunteers stick around.

While plenty of people received pins for their first year of volunteerism at Meals on Wheels, Worrell was able to celebrate two women that have been volunteering for 25 years.

Jennifer Bradshaw, a former board member, and Karen Shaw have both been giving their time to Meals on Wheels for more than two decades.

“I started delivering with my daughter when she was in a car seat, and now I have a grandchild,” Shaw said.

She never stopped because she didn’t know anything different, and it was just something she always did.

“You become so close to the people that you deliver to. I’ve lost a lot of people and been to a lot of funerals, but I do it because it brings a smile on their faces,” Shaw said.

She has no plans to stop delivering anytime soon.

“I guess I’ll stop when they start delivering to me,” Shaw said.