The organization has a great need for volunteer drivers to deliver meals at least one day a month. Robert Peace, a member of the organization’s board of directors, said the effort is a great example of neighbors helping neighbors.
“Sometimes the driver will be the only person that our clients would see for that particular day. … The whole thing is just a wonderful ministry, both for the people that deliver and the people that receive,” Peace said.
Making an impact
Meals on Wheels of Kingsport prepares and delivers hot food to those who are unable to prepare meals themselves. In 2018, the organization served 53,742 meals, which equates to roughly 230 meals a day, Peace said.
The organization serves meals Monday through Friday year-round, except on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Other than one paid office employee, it is entirely run by volunteers.
Teams of volunteers gather at Waverly Road Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church to cook the meals, and volunteer drivers deliver them.
Delivering the meals
Each driver typically delivers to 15 people on their regular route. With a daily average of 230 meals, the organization needs at least 15 drivers each day, Peace said.
“Right now, we’re short a couple drivers at Waverly Road and about 12 drivers at First Presbyterian,” Peace said. “That’s as many as we’ve been short in a long, long time. … We have to replace several drivers per month, and so far, we’ve had kind of a backlog that we could choose from, but for some reason it’s dried up.”
Peace said most drivers volunteer one time per month, though some deliver as many as four times a month. It typically takes one to two hours to complete one route.
“They pick up the meals at one of the two locations at 10 a.m., and they’re finished by lunch,” Peace said. “Usually, once you know your route, you can complete your entire drive and delivering of the 15 meals in one hour. … A lot of people do it over their lunch hour, if they’re working.”
How to help
Those who are interested in becoming a volunteer driver simply need to have a vehicle and a driver’s license, Peace said. No application is required.
Meals on Wheels is also always in need of volunteers to cook meals. For more information on how to become a volunteer, call Brenda Overbey at (423) 247-4511.