East Texas volunteers say Meals on Wheels is more than ‘just a meal’


TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Meals on Wheels in East Texas recently underwent big changes in leadership changes. The Tyler headquarters gave us a sneak peek into their daily operations.

“It’s more than a meal, they count on us to come in and check on them, be their friend, and if they need us, we’re there,” said John Moore, the new CEO of Meals on Wheels.

It’s not just a meal, it’s a sentiment shared by many who volunteer with the non-profit.

“It’s just not the meal, it’s the companionship they want,” said Donna Anderson, the Director of Volunteers.

We wanted to experience it first hand, so we rode along with volunteers as they delivered a hot meal with a side of friendship.

Mr. Washington met us at the door and he was ready to chat.

“Whatever they prepare, you know and it’s real good food, it’s delicious,” said Mr. Washington.

We asked him about his daily cupcake which some of the volunteers make it their mission that he gets a special treat with his meal.

“Woo, I’m telling you, its out of sight,” exclaimed Mr. Washington.

Another client we delivered to, used to be a volunteer himself.

“Seeing people, just making them happy, because everyone was watching the price is right, so you can keep up with the game going door to door, you know,” he said.

All kidding aside, Anderson tells us leaving is often the hardest part for the volunteers and for her.

“You know, you just want to take them home with you at times, I mean, that’s how I feel,” said Anderson.

Willie Redford has been volunteering his time for 14 years.

“The first time I did this was during my lunch hour when I was working, just came in and helped quickly and I thought, you know, this is something that what everybody’s told me about it is correct and true and I need to continue to do this,” said Redford.

The volunteers come in early, pack up enough meals for their route and they head out, in their own car, using their own gas, to give back to their community.

Moore says the operation couldn’t survive without their selflessness.

“Once you see the mission of feeding those who need to be fed, and being friends with those who need friends, it changes your whole outlook about what you’re doing and why you’re here on earth, I mean we are all here to help each other,” said Moore.

In this case, helping each other looks like a warm meal and an even warmer smile.

If you would like to be a delivery volunteer, Moore says to give them a call at (903) 593-7385 or check out their website HERE! They need all the help they can get!

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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