Mobile Meals of Woodward is in desperate need of volunteer drivers to deliver meals.

“Meals-On-Wheels” is a national service which provides adequate nutritional meals to aged or handicapped persons who are unable to prepare their own meals or lack the facilities for preparing adequate meals for themselves.

The Woodward program has been in operation since the mid-1970s. It was actually started by local ministers and concerned citizens who saw the need for the disabled to have a hot meal once a day. The organization is led by a board of directors, which includes a president - Darrell Johnson - and a secretary/treasurer - Jean Stoner.

Brigetta Wilson, coordinator at the Woodward Senior Center, along with Joyce Rhoades, office assistant, coordinate the program for the organization by getting volunteer drivers, making lists of the people in the program and doing the day-to-day routines involved in the program.

Although each Meals-On-Wheels program is different, they all have the same basic objectives - to improve the nutritional status of older people and to keep them in their own homes and out of institutions as long as possible. Wilson also added that there is no age requirement and that anyone is eligible for the program.

Stoner has been with the program since the early 90s and has actually been a volunteer driver for the past 14 years.

“One of the main reasons this is a great program is because at least these people have somebody seeing them every day,” said Stoner. “If they weren’t getting a meal, there would be days on end that they would not see anyone at all. So, besides giving them the food, it’s a contact with the outside world for them.”

The meals are $3.50 each and are provided Monday through Friday. The Woodward Regional Hospital provides the meals for the program. Volunteer drivers pick up the meals at 11 a.m. and usually have all of them delivered by noon. There are two different routes in Woodward, which requires two drivers each day of the week.

Wilson explained that Rhoades makes a list every day of the people in the program and then contacts the hospital, telling them how many meals need to be prepared. Participants in the program can choose what type of meal they need and they are catered to their specifications. For example, if the participants need no-salt, heart healthy, sugar free/diabetic or pureed food, those are the meals that will be delivered to them.

Wilson said there are several children that live out of town and buy the meals for their parents. This is very beneficial for the families because they know that driver will be at the door every day of the week to deliver the meals.

“We’ve actually had people that have fallen and they waited there for their Meals-On-Wheels drivers to deliver them their food to get help,” said Wilson.

“This is a vital program because it takes a nutritional meal into the home of someone who otherwise wouldn’t be able to prepare a meal for themselves,” she said. “Also, it is a good check for people that live alone if they have fallen before or are sick. They know someone will be coming to their door to bring a meal every day, Monday through Friday.”

Stoner explained that the program is a very worthwhile cause and only takes an hour of a volunteer’s time, one day a week.

“It takes about an hour of your time one day a week,” said Stoner. “I hope somebody will be there to do that for me if I ever need them ... it’s a very worthwhile cause.”

The program is also in need of donations from churches, clubs, organizations, individuals and institutions in order to perpetuate this worthy and needy program.

If you are interested in volunteering for the Mobile Meals of Woodward program, or would like to make donations, please contact Wilson or Rhoades at the Woodward Senior Center - 254-8566.

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