Most of us are familiar with the Meals on Wheels program since Warren County has had the service since 1977, but some may not know what the program offers.
Meals on Wheels is a federal food assistance program that delivers hot, well-balanced meals to millions of seniors, the disabled, and people at risk everywhere who are otherwise unable to prepare meals on their own.
The nutritious meal consists of a meat, two portions of fruit and vegetables, a dairy item, bread and dessert, all delivered by volunteers to the recipient’s home. The local kitchen is located at 106 East End Drive and is under the guidance of co-directors Nancy Mayfield and Martha Pepper.
Over 100 volunteer carriers deliver the meals on 14 different routes across Warren County.
“We do try, and I say try, to service all of Warren County,” said Pepper. “But sometimes it’s hard depending on their location and how many others we have in the area.”
Anyone wanting to submit a name for the meal service can contact Mayfield or Pepper at 473-3514.
They are quick to add they always need volunteers for delivery, and will take monetary donations or any canned food items at any time. The group receives an operating contribution from the Upper Cumberland Human Resources Agency, but is greatly supplemented by Warren County donations.
March 20 was designated Mayors for Meals by the organization, with local officials participating in the day. McMinnville Mayor Jimmy Haley, County Executive John Pelham and Morrison Mayor Sue Anderson all delivered meals to shut-ins, with the three of them making a stop at the home of Troy Farless.
“I really enjoy and appreciate the meals,” said Farless. “All the food is delicious, so I can’t choose a favorite meal, I just enjoy them all.”
Pelham felt he spoke for the group when he said they were happy to participate this one special day a year, but also felt a little embarrassment.
“We are happy to do this, but the real praise should go to the group of volunteers who do this every day, and to the workers that come in early each day to prepare these meals,” said Pelham. He also commended Mayor Anderson, as she has been a volunteer with the program for several years, delivering food on a regular basis.
Volunteer carrier Cordell Dykes has been delivering for about five years, and finds it an enriching experience.
“The folks really appreciate and need the food, but many of them are also lonely and love for us to stop and visit a while,” said Dykes.
Mayor Haley says there is a need for the program, and there will always be people who are less fortunate than others and need assistance.
“I think God blessed us with the ability to serve and help others,” said Haley. “There will always be less fortunate folks, and this program is wonderful in that it provides a hot meal for those who need it most.”