“Deliver hope, friendship, independence and more,” heralds Greenville’s Meals on Wheels website. And that’s precisely what 140 volunteers and corporate route partners are doing every day.
“We have a pool of approximately 1,200 volunteers and 100 corporate route partners, or CRPs,” explains Muriel Taylor, who has served as the director of volunteers and community Engagement for 3½ years at Greenville’s MOW site.
“Fluor, Michelin, O’Neal and Elliott Davis, our CRPs, recruit the volunteers, and we can count on their employees having set route schedules,” Taylor said. “It is an invaluable partnership.”
Volunteers confirm that they enjoy their time with MOW because they feel a sense of purpose, they are part a compassionate community filled with joy and they build friendships with people who are eager to see them and then send them off with immense gratitude.
There are times when volunteering just involves placing a meal in a cooler on residents’ porches for one hour and then calling it a day.
“One of the things that I love most is watching the connections among volunteers form,” said Taylor. “To see those fostered and then to know the compassion between volunteers and clients makes me smile every day.”
Wheeling meals is a responsibility that is divided among many. A kitchen staff arrives at 5 a.m. to prepare the meals that have been approved by a registered dietitian. Pork chops, Salisbury steak and spaghetti tend to be client favorites, Taylor confirmed. At 8 a.m., packaging volunteers arrive and then delivery volunteers show up around 10:30 a.m.
For residents who love the idea of volunteering for MOW but just don’t know if they have the time, Taylor said, “Give us a call.”
“I bet we can find a way to get them involved,” she added. “An hour during lunch break, time during the holiday season, time to be with a child who needs service hours – these are some of the diverse ways to volunteer.” Donations are always welcome, too.
There is a “very small government funding piece,” in the Meals on Wheels budget, but a bulk of the nonprofit’s money comes from annual events such as the Sweetheart Charity Ball in February and private donations, according to Taylor.
Whether residents offer a donation or their time, Taylor and her team remain thankful.
The donations and volunteer time helped MOW deliver 381,000 meals in 2021.
28th Annual Sweetheart Charity Ball
Meals on Wheels of Greenville’s 28th annual Sweetheart Charity Ball will be held Feb. 25 from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Greenville Convention Center.
Residents are encouraged to “dress to impress in your best formal wear for an elegant evening consisting of a cocktail hour, three-course dinner, silent auction, live music performance and more, all in support of the homebound in Greenville County.”
The event also features a poignant “Fund the Need” experience during which attendees hear client stories with the hope that money can be matched to MOW’s requirements.
Tickets, sponsorship opportunities and other information are available at mealsonwheelsgreenville.org/mow-event/sweetheart-charity-ball.
By Lisa Moody Breslin