Woodward, Okla. —
A hot meal with a side of care.
That's what the volunteers with Panhandle Nutrition Service (PNS) deliver when they take meals to the homebound in Woodward.
Cathi Myers, site manager for PNS, said that the lunches delivered by PNS volunteers 5 days a week may sometimes be the only warm meals that those residents have that day.
But Myers said it is about more than just providing them with nutrition for their bodies. It is also about socialization and showing them that someone does care to come check on them and visit with them.
Because beyond being the only warm meal they have that day, the volunteer who delivers their meal may be the only other person they see that day.
"The meal delivery just gives us an opportunity to check in on some people who don't have family in the area to check in on them," Myers said, noting "I just think it's good for people to have fellowship every day and not just sit down and dwindle away."
She said there have even been cases where PNS meal deliverers have been there to help clients in times of need. She shared one story involving Frank Evans, who delivers PNS meals to clients in Ellis County.
"One time there was a little man in Fargo who had fallen and if it wasn't for Frank coming to check on him, who knows how long he would have laid there," she said.
If you have 30 to 45 minutes to spare at least once a week and want to see that "some of our most frail citizens" receive a warm meal delivered with a warm smile, then Panhandle Nutrition Service could use your help, Myers said.
Specifically, she said PNS currently needs at least one driver to help deliver a route on Monday mornings. She added that the agency is also always on the lookout for more relief drivers, who would be willing to cover routes when the regular drivers are unable to.
Myers explained that there are currently 3 daily routes that volunteers deliver to Monday through Friday. The meals are delivered to those who are homebound and age 60-years-old and above, or who are Advantage clients, she said.
"Each route has between 10 to 13 meals on it, but there's quite a few cases where you'll stop at one house and take 2 meals in," she said.
All the delivery locations are within Woodward city limits and "probably 5 to 6 miles is the most you'll drive," she said.
The whole delivery process usually takes less than an hour, Myers said.
"We start fixing the meals about 10:30 a.m. and we ask the volunteers to come pick them up by 10:45 a.m. Then they go out and deliver them and everybody's back usually by 11:30 a.m.," she said.
Other than having their own transportation and "being trustworthy," Myers said there aren't many requirements to becoming a PNS meal delivery volunteer, except the desire to help others.