Cheers to volunteers

Published 11:23 pm Friday, September 27, 2019

There are more than 225 volunteers in our community who truly are delivering more than just food each weekday.

The Meals on Wheels volunteers — who, appropriately, were honored with a dinner on Tuesday — also deliver smiles, companionship and human interaction to a population of people who may, at times, feel forgotten.

And in a partnership with the Suffolk News-Herald, they also deliver a newspaper to each recipient, and we hear the recipients greatly enjoy this little extra.

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“This is just a small way to show appreciation each year for those that give back so much,” Executive Director Roseland Worrell told the volunteers during Tuesday’s dinner. “You know they say it takes a village, and we’re really a big village that makes it work.”

Suffolk Meals on Wheels has more than 225 volunteers, which includes members of more than a dozen churches, adult day care center FACES Community Services, and more. Suffolk Public School students can even come deliver meals for Meals on Wheels to fulfill their volunteer requirement for graduation.

Volunteers take time out of their busy schedules to deliver hot, nutritious food to homebound residents in the Suffolk and Isle of Wight area who are not able or find it difficult to prepare meals for themselves. Meals are delivered at lunchtime every Monday through Friday. A registered dietitian at Sentara Obici Food Services Department oversees the preparation of the meals to make sure each client’s dietary needs are met.

Folks who participate in Meals on Wheels can feel safer in their own homes, knowing they’ve got caring volunteers who are regularly checking on them. And those volunteers are the ones who make the program such a success.

Volunteers range from those who are in their first year of service up to 20-year volunteers Kitty Martin, Pam Saunders and Gary Saunders, who were recognized at the dinner for this two-decade milestone.

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.

For all they do to improve the lives of people suffering the frailties of age and sickness, these wonderful volunteers deserve and receive our sincerest appreciation.