“People like Phil volunteer for a deeper reason,” says Kelley Chapman, volunteer manager at East Cooper Meals on Wheels. When Phil was presented with the 2016 Volunteer of the Year Award, he immediately said, “I really appreciate this, but it’s not why I do it.” This is what makes East Cooper Meals on Wheels and their volunteers so special; it’s their dedication to their community and those who live in it.
“Our 450+ volunteers are the heart of all we do. Every day we hear their stories about the remarkable recipients we serve,” notes George Roberts, president/CEO of East Cooper Meals on Wheels. “All it takes is one delivery with an undeniable moment of human connection. It’s a very rewarding experience. Our volunteers tell us they’re hooked!” explains Kelley Chapman, volunteer manager. This explains why East Cooper Meals on Wheels has so many volunteers at the 10, 20 and even 30-year mark.
All 450+ East Cooper Meals on Wheels volunteers make a positive impact in the lives of our homebound neighbors. There is no shortage of examples of how passionate each and every volunteer is and former Volunteer of the Year, Merv is no different.
Food may seem the most obvious element, but it is much more than that. When East Cooper Meals on Wheels volunteers provide meals, they know they are also bringing social interaction, a daily safety check and a reminder to recipients they are not forgotten; they still matter.
For family caregivers, such a Maureen, three things are important; consistency, nutritional value, and stress relief. Another very important factor for Maureen was the quality of volunteers. Every volunteer is very personable and always takes a moment to say hello and see how recipients are doing. Maureen’s parents, Allen and Ellen, were introduced to Meals on Wheels through a former Volunteer of the Year, Merv. Allen and Merv are both military veterans and met at the VFW in Mount Pleasant. According to Ellen, it all started when Allen and Merv, “started trading war stories.” Maureen appreciates the connection that her father and Merv have and said, “Merv takes that extra step to make sure that other needs are met.” Merv will come in, have a conversation and ask if they need anything else or if he can help them with anything at all. Maureen said, “it connects them to the world and feeds the whole person, not just the belly.” For Maureen, “the bigger picture is the human interaction. Volunteers are very important and it makes a huge impact.” Many recipients look forward to that knock at their door each day and the familiar face waiting on the other side. Maureen said, “It starts with nutrition and ends with friendship,” and she is right.
Meals on Wheels serves the greater community by providing an efficient and compassionate way to care for aging and homebound neighbors. “It is neighbors helping neighbors; hearts and hands from within our own East Cooper community reaching out to support others in need,” says George Roberts, president/CEO of East Cooper Meals on Wheels.
All of the food that East Cooper Meals on Wheels delivers is funded purely through your community support. This summer the “Give a Day Without Hunger” campaign supports all of the nutritional support the nonprofit offers homebound individuals whatever they need for a day. That often includes healthy breakfast foods, a hot lunch, milk, fresh fruit, a dinner meal, ENSURE beverages, and of course – the greatest of all – a caring volunteer bringing a friendly smile.