One day two years ago Jacque Mroz noticed some commotion down her street, so she walked over and started asking questions. Soon, she realized it was simply a delivery volunteer for Meals on Wheels for WNY.
“I inquired about it, and they explained the program to me, and I said ‘Oh, my goodness, that would be a life-saver for me,'” Mroz recalled.
She has relied on the service since then to deliver nutritious hot and cold meals every weekday.
“I’m in chronic pain 24/7. I’ve had two spinal surgeries. Cervical, neck, hip replacement.”
The pain keeps her from being able to cook. “I wasn’t getting my fruits and vegetables for some time. If you’re in a lot of pain, you grab a bowl of cereal for supper,” she admitted.
Meals on Wheels of WNY uses a central kitchen to prepare and package the meals. Drivers deliver them to various distribution points around the metro. Then, 400 volunteers arrive to begin home deliveries for approximately 1,800 clients every day. Qualifying for the program may be easier than you think.
“Meals on Wheels if for anyone who is unable to safely shop for or prepare meals,” Chief Communications Officer Rachel Leidenfrost explained.
“If you have dementia, and you turn the stove on and maybe forget, or if you’re losing your eyesight and can no longer safely drive to the grocery store — things like that – then, Meals on Wheels might be for you.” The agency has 3,400 unique home-delivery clients.
This week, celebrities and civic leaders joined regular volunteers to deliver meals. The “Champions for Meals” program highlights the work volunteers do year-round.
Client Aurelia Mallory counts on volunteers bringing a bit of joy to her day. “They’re very nice to me. I like the meals. It’s very helpful when you don’t want to cook. I appreciate it very much,” she said with a smile.
The majority of the meal recipients qualify for one of the programs that has partial government funding. Many make small donations to help the agency cover the cost. If you know someone who may need the service, call (716) 822-2002 to speak with a social worker. You can also volunteer to become a delivery driver.
Editor’s Note: News 4’s Jordan Williams is a regular volunteer for Meals on Wheels for WNY.