LEE COUNTY, Fla. — It was a busy day at Community Cooperative’s Soup Kitchen on Thursday, as over a dozen volunteers put together meals for homebound seniors.
All part of their Meals on Wheels program.
“It means the world to me, to be able to bring joy to them,” said Janelle McVay, a volunteer for Meals on Wheels.
More than 350-meals went out to make sure local seniors have a homemade meal on Christmas.
But, it wasn’t just meals that went out on Christmas Eve.
“Today, I’m going to my clients, and I’m just bringing them gifts, wishing them a Merry Christmas, and being Santa for just a moment, said McVay.”
McVay has been a volunteer since March, delivering meals every Friday.
"The reason I began volunteering, as a former volunteer director, I knew once COVID really started to become a factor in our community that the need for volunteering would be greater," said McVay.
McVay says she heard of Community Cooperative through her church, and since becoming a volunteer, she has become close with the people she serves.
On Thursday, dressed in her holiday attire, she loaded up her car with gifts and began the deliveries — bringing joy to many local seniors.
“Just for them to see a friendly face, somebody to talk to even for a few minutes, it brightens their day,” said McVay.
Meals on Wheels serves over one thousand homebound seniors and adults with disabilities each year.
“Since the pandemic started, our deliveries are three days a week, but we’re providing 7-days' worth of meals, groceries, pet food,” said Stefanie Edwards, Chief Development & Operating Officer, Community Cooperative.
But, starting in January, they plan on going back to five-day deliveries and need more volunteers.
“We at Community Cooperative couldn’t do the work that we do without our volunteers, from cooking, preparing, and packaging the meals every single day, to then delivering to our 30-routes that go all over southwest Florida,” said Edwards.
"If we didn't have volunteers to deliver these meals, some of these folks wouldn't see anybody, and they wouldn't be eating that day," she added.
While it’s a small gesture that only takes a few hours a day, It can make a world of difference for these seniors.
“It’s a smiling face, it’s a friendly face, it’s also a home check so we can recognize if something is going on, we can recognize if they have a need, they might ask for something,” said McVay.
To volunteer or to make a donation, click here.