When they’re not rushing to an emergency, McMinnville firefighters are out delivering meals for the Warren County Meals on Wheels organization.
“We want to help the community and assist Meals on Wheels,” said Fire Chief Kendall Mayfield. “Apparently individuals really enjoy us doing this because I’ve received a lot of positive feedback from people who receive meals from the guys. I know the guys really enjoy doing it. I think it’s a wonderful thing for the community and for us.”
Firefighters volunteer on Monday mornings to deliver a meal route. Nancy Mayfield, co-director of the organization with Martha Pepper, says the help is greatly appreciated.
“It’s amazing to have the community get together and help us out,” said Mayfield. “Without those people, we wouldn’t make it around here. We just couldn’t. We are very dependent on volunteers.”
Having government make a monetary donation, as well as allow its employees to volunteer to deliver meals, is a tremendous help, says Mayfield.
“It’s really amazing when your local government sees that we need help and they want to help out. We get dollars from the city, but this is an added benefit we appreciate even more. It shows they really care. Sometimes we are short of volunteers and this really is a big help. We are glad to have the firefighters here with us.”
Meals on Wheels has been in operation since 1977 and delivers nutritious meals, a warm smile, and the added benefit of a safety check that helps keep seniors healthy, safe and living independently in their own homes each year. The organization has approximately 200 individuals it services.
The nutritious meals consist of a meat, two portions of fruit and vegetables, a daily item, bread and dessert, all delivered by volunteers to the recipient’s home. Over 100 volunteer carriers deliver the meals on 14 different routes across Warren County each day, Monday thru Friday. Receiving meals from the program are senior citizens, the disabled, and people at risk in the community.
While the organization receives an operating contribution from the Upper Cumberland Human Resources Agency, it is greatly supplemented by Warren County donations. Monetary donations and any canned food items are accepted.
McMinnville firefighters have been volunteering at Meals on Wheels for at least two months. Mayfield says the organization understands emergency calls must be answered, even if it means firefighters cannot finish their route.
“I did have to have permission from the city administrator in order to do this,” said Mayfield. “We were given the OK to do it. It requires two guys to deliver the meals. However, when we are shorthanded, a whole crew goes. A whole crew is four guys. If we have to go on an emergency call, we can call and someone will come pick up the food and finish delivering the meals.”
McMinnville Planning and Zoning Department employees Josh Baker and Chris Lefevers also volunteer once a week to deliver a route for Meals on Wheels. However, their assistance is on their own time and not during business hours.
For more information about Meals on Wheels, call 473-3514.