ATLANTA — Before carving their own holiday birds, the staff and volunteers at Meals on Wheel Atlanta took time to give back, by stuffing trucks with meals for seniors.
“It's chaotic. It's always chaotic at Thanksgiving. But that's good because the more people you serve, the more help you need. And when it's over, it's over. We work really hard. It's very intense, but we know it's for a good cause,” Deloris Tuggle said.
Tuggle said she’s volunteered with Meals on Wheels Atlanta for two years and it’s her favorite charity. She explained it’s because she would like to think someone would one day do her a similar kindness.
“Maybe somebody will have to feed me on Thanksgiving, so maybe I'm paying it forward right now," Tuggle said.
Meals On Wheels Atlanta serves more than 600 seniors throughout the city. The meals volunteers distribute on Thanksgiving include two weeks' worth of dinner and breakfast. Chief Executive Officer Charlene Crusoe-Ingram said volunteers and donations are what make it possible for the organization to reach so many.
“It really is driven by the number of routes that we have, which is generally four to eight rounds, meaning we do four to eight seniors on each route. So it requires $4,000 a year to feed one senior”, she said.
Crusoe-Ingram admitted inflation has played a part in her ability to meet the growing need and she’s working to make adjustments.
“We have a steady set of seniors that we provide meals to every day…we have a waitlist. And we really do work hard at getting through that weight list as quickly as possible. But I would say it's low. We try to keep it low as we get closer to the holidays.”
She said volunteers help with outreach. One of them, Libby Jonas, said she feels as if she’s truly helping her community when working at Meals on Wheels.
“I feel really happy with what I'm doing, honestly. Like, that's the best way to put it. You know, I feel like I am making a difference," Jonas said.
You can find out more about getting involved with Meals On Wheels Atlanta here.