Clement “Mickey” Woodward is a member of First Baptist Church in Richmond; and for more than 10 years he’s made a mission trip once a month. His mission experience (or more like over 5,000 mission experiences) has typically taken him no more than 30 miles from his home; and on most trips, he visits many of the people that he’s ministered to the month before.
Woodward is one of more than 2,500 volunteers who support Meals on Wheels regularly throughout the Central Virginia area. He and other members at First Baptist, Richmond, drive seven routes for MOW on the second Tuesday of each month, delivering wholesome meals to homebound and elderly individuals.
Last year in central Virginia, volunteers delivered more than 297,087 meals to more than 1,500 homebound adults, providing more than 50,000 hours of service and driving about 300,000 miles. In addition 29,334 meals were provided for Senior Connections and adult day care centers in central Virginia.
The Meals on Wheels program has seen unprecedented growth with the economic downturn and growth in the aging population and is seeking to increase volunteers to meet needs in the future. Volunteers come from all walks of life with 30 percent from businesses and corporations, 30 percent from faith-based and civic organizations, and the remainder from retired residents, stay-at-home parents or students.
“Most of us from First Baptist have done this for quite a while,” says Woodward. Each route requires a vehicle with two individuals, so 14 persons are needed each month. He says the majority are “regulars” who are there every month. But there are substitutes ready to volunteer if one of the regulars is unable to make the trip.
These church members consider volunteering with Meals on Wheels as mission service. They not only deliver food, but more importantly, a warm smile, a safety check and an opportunity for many elderly adults to continue to live in their homes. More than 18 percent of the meals delivered meet important dietary requirements needed to help keep seniors independent and healthy. And meals are available for homebound adults, regardless of their ability to pay.
Individuals and churches across Virginia can get involved with Meals on Wheels. To learn of a MOW service in your community, go to Meals on Wheel’s website, www.mowaa.org and click “Find a Meal.” Select Virginia and find a direct link to the Meals on Wheels organization nearest you. For additional information on MOW in central Virginia, go to www.mowdelivers.com.