Volunteer opportunity: Meals on Wheels

Want to keep up your New Year’s resolution to volunteer more? This is the first in a weekly, seven-part series to help you get involved. Read on to see what organizations could use your help.

Cayla Wilson, director of the Fayetteville Senior Activity and Wellness Center, explains how the Meals on Wheels home-cooked meals are prepared, sealed, frozen, and stored before being delivered to local seniors.

Todd Gill, Flyer staff

Fayetteville’s Meals on Wheels volunteers not only hand-deliver home-cooked meals to seniors in the community, but may also be the only social contact the senior has that day – or even that week. This heartbreaking truth is what keeps volunteer Bill Moss coming back time and time again to help out.

“It’s wonderful to put a smile on their face,” Moss said.

Moss was a Meals on Wheels volunteer for two years before becoming a paid route driver. He is currently in charge of the Hot Shot route, the program’s most demanding delivery role. As a retiree, he spends up to three hours a day delivering meals, but this is not the norm. Moss said the average volunteer’s route takes between 15-30 minutes.

“If you’re retired and you’re sitting at home with nothing to do, volunteer,” Moss said. “It’s rewarding to give back.”

Cayla Wilson, director of the Fayetteville Senior Activity and Wellness Center and Fayetteville’s Meals on Wheels, said there are currently between 25 and 30 volunteers, but more are needed. If there’s a gap in the volunteering schedule, she or one of her assistants take care of the route themselves. She said that even volunteers who help out for just an hour a week are helpful.

Meals on Wheels

Contact: (479) 571-2920
Website: see note below
Summary: deliver meals to senior citizens in Fayetteville
Requirements: age 21+
Who they’re looking for: money donors, meal deliverers, web-designer

“I think sometimes seniors get put on the backburner,” Wilson said. “It’s an honor to be able to give back to a senior who has contributed to the community.”

While seniors are asked to pay to have the meals delivered to their homes, no one in need is turned away by the program – even if they can’t afford it. The fee for the meals is not enough to cover Meals on Wheels’ costs, and the program receives very little federal funding. This means generous donors are always welcome as well as necessary.

Those interested in volunteering must meet with Wilson at the Fayetteville Senior Activity and Wellness Center to discuss the process and fill out paperwork. Drop-ins are welcome, as well as phone calls.

Additional opportunity

The Fayetteville Meals on Wheels program does not have a website. Apart from delivering meals, they’re interesting in having a qualified individual make them a website on a pro bono basis. If this is something you’re interested in, contact Fayetteville Meals on Wheels director Cayla Wilson at (479) 571-2920.

Correction: A previous version of this story suggested Moss was still a volunteer for Meals on Wheels. While he did volunteer for two years, Moss was eventually hired as the program’s only paid route driver. That correction is included above.