Meals on Wheels in critical need of volunteers

WINNSBORO – The Fairfield County Council on Aging currently delivers meals to 190 senior citizens throughout Fairfield County every week, and more are waiting to receive the service. But without additional volunteers to deliver those meals, it’s impossible to add more routes and more recipients to the program, according to Angela Connor, Executive Director of the county’s Council on Aging.

“We’re touching lives one meal at a time,” explained MaryCathryn Wilson, the agency’s Volunteer Coordinator, “but we need help.  Currently, even our staff is serving routes in the Winnsboro area due to a critical lack of volunteers,” Wilson explained.

Many of the seniors in the program are homebound and live alone, often in isolated areas.

Linda Branham delivers a meal to 92 year-old Rosalee Peay. | Darlene Embleton

“It’s not unusual for our volunteer to be the only person they see in a day,” said Conner.   “This daily contact is a large component of what the program is all about.”

Good nutrition is the key, though.  The meals provided to seniors in the program are nutritionally balanced to meet the 1/3 recommended daily allowance (RDI) for seniors.

The volunteers help to improve the quality of life for older adults by providing them with services that allow them to remain independent and in their own homes for as long as possible.

The home-delivered meals program receives funding from a number of sources – the federal government, the state, Fairfield County as well as private donors.  Participants who receive meals may also donate toward the cost of their own meals, but it is not required. All contributions received through the home delivered meals program remain in the program and are used to sustain it.

The volunteers deliver both hot and frozen meals, depending on the location of the recipients.

“Strict regulations regarding food safety temperatures determine where the hot meals can be delivered,” Connor said. “We are currently running 10 hot meal routes in Winnsboro, Ridgeway and the Lebanon area.”

Frozen meals are delivered to outlying areas once a week in boxes of five meals with supplements.

The volunteers come from all walks of life.

“We have 3 families who home school their children and use this as their service project,” Wilson said.

Ridgeway residents Linda and Rodger Branham have been volunteering for years.

Routes typically take just 45 minutes to one hour to complete and are picked up from the Winnsboro Senior Center at 210 E Washington Street at 10:45 a.m.  Ridgeway has some other arrangements for pick-up.

“Volunteers can deliver as often as they like or as little as they can,” Connor explained.  “We know that everyone’s time is stretched thin these days, therefore we have availability for volunteering from one hour a month to one hour a day.  Our Volunteer Coordinator will work with each volunteer to help make the schedule as suitable as possible. “

Helping seniors be able to stay in their own home for as long as possible is a wonderful way to give back to others in our community.

Volunteers need to be at least 18 years of age and have their own transportation. Those who would like more information about volunteering to serve the meals, can contact MaryCathryn Wilson at 803-635-3015.


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