Meals on Wheels volunteers help homebound seniors

Charley Warnke, left and Mary Reynolds with meals ready to be delivered to area residents. Photo by D.Rush

It makes me feel pretty good’

By Don Rush

Every weekday between 30 and 40 senior citizens in the Oxford-Addison community get a special delivery and a gift. Meals on Wheels delivery volunteers deliver a meal and the gift of a smile.

It is an honor to work for an organization which helps my community and puts me in contact with wonderful recipients and volunteers,” said Meals on Wheels Site Hostess Mary Reynolds. “I am always amazed at the volunteers I get to interact with every day and their generosity in serving those around them. It is fulfilling to know you are helping others and spreading joy to those who appreciate your entrance into their lives.”

According to Reynolds, Meals on Wheels helps homebound seniors who are unable to prepare their own meals. It can be an absolutely essential service for many older adults—providing a hot meal, a friendly visitor and someone to check in on them every weekday. The program is available to people over 60 years old. There are no financial eligibility requirements. Instead eligibility is based on whether or not someone can leave their home without assistance. It encourages independence for those who wish to remain in their home for as long as possible.

Meals on Wheels food is prepared in the kitchen at the Older Persons Commission in Rochester and is sent to Oxford United Methodist Church on E. Burdick St., via a refrigerated/heated van. From there co-hostess Reynold and Sandra Fullmer make sure delivery route sheets and the meals are given to the volunteer drivers.

Our location services four daily routes and utilizes individual and corporate volunteers,” Reynolds said. “We have about 20 regular volunteers and several substitute drivers. Each route takes roughly one hour or less to complete.

Reynolds, who has lived in Oxford for about 28 years has been site hostess for the last 19 years. “We are always looking for volunteers,” she said.

One such volunteer is James Baldiga, 57, of Addison Township.

Since 2009, I’ve been self-employed offering digital marketing services that align with Google’s digital advertising products,” he said. “I also build and repair websites, making them work better with Google. I’ve been a volunteer since about November of 2019. For the most part I make deliveries to Addison Township residents once a week. There have been times when I’ve subbed for

Volunteer Meals on Wheel deliveryman James Baldiga.

other drivers and deliver more than once a week.”

He said he likes the interaction with the senior citizens he meets.

I do it because I can. I have a flexible schedule and am naturally gregarious. Because of the nature of my work, I have no real co-workers, so you could say it satisfies a certain amount of my socialization needs,” he joked. “It makes me feel pretty good. I love having a set of friends that I get to visit each week who look forward to my visits.”

Baldiga said if someone is considering delivering for Meals on Wheels to, “Give it a try. A couple months at least, in order to get to know the clients.”

For folks considering volunteering, Reyolds said to call the Oxford location directly at 248-236-9260 and leave a message, adding, “A background check is required for all volunteers.”

Individuals can sign up for Meals on Wheels in the Oxford-Addison area by calling the Older Persons Commission in Rochester at 248-608-0264.


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