Help Serve a Hot Meal with a Warm Smile
That is what Bert Bloomston, a Meals on Wheels volunteer, brings to every person he visits each week on his route in Jefferson County.
Meals on Wheels provides hot, nutritious lunches daily to homebound seniors and persons with disabilities in Jefferson County. But the need is growing. Did you know that 1 in 6 seniors struggle with hunger and there’s a waiting list of more than 500 people? The Meals on Wheels program is looking for more volunteers like Mr. Bloomston.
“You can’t imagine the smiles you get when you walk up with a bag and just say, ‘Good morning,’” says Bloomston. “They’re just delighted to see you, and it could be the only meal they have that day.”
Bloomston says his decision to volunteer for Meals on Wheels came after he spent several years caring for his ailing wife. So, when a friend mentioned the Meals on Wheels program, he knew volunteering to deliver meals to the hungry would be a great way to give back to his community.
“If you look at the faces of those people, then you understand that what you’re doing is a great service to the community,” he says. “Giving back in this manner … and seeing their lives changes has been a great gratitude for me.”
Last year alone, Meals on Wheels volunteers like Bloomston delivered 169,275 meals to homebound Jefferson County residents.
The truth is, in the United States, millions of older adults struggle with food insecurity. The National Council on Aging, for example, reports that in 2014, 10.2 million older adults in the United States, 15.8 percent of adults aged 60 and older, faced the threat of hunger.
Moreover, the NCOA says Alabama is one of the 10 states in the country with the highest rates of hunger among senior adults. In fact, 17 percent of seniors in Alabama are food insecure. The problem is even greater in Birmingham where 19.7 percent of seniors are hungry.
Because the need is so great, the Meals on Wheels program needs more volunteer drivers to deliver the meals as well as individuals with administrative skills who can help at the program’s office and monetary donations. Click here if you would like to volunteer.
Bloomston, meanwhile, says he plans to continue delivering meals, and, hopefully, make a difference in his community.
“The change I’m fighting for,” says Bloomston, “is to make certain that no one goes hungry.”Can you help?
As we prepare for this holiday season of giving, Meals On Wheels wants to you remember the seniors who are struggling to stay independent and healthy.