These Are the Volunteers That Make Meals on Wheels Possible
At the Staten Island chapter, employees and volunteers work hard to feed approx 1,200 people per day.
At the Staten Island chapter of Meals on Wheels, the oldest and largest national meal delivery service for senior citizens, the day starts at 4 am. The chef and kitchen staff begin by prepping hot meals, which get plated by 9 am. While that is happening, staff package the cold meals and anything else that will need to be refrigerated. Once everything is ready to go, it’s loaded onto trucks and cars to be delivered around the borough.
Meals on Wheels delivers 2 meals a day: a hot meal and a cold meal. At the Staten Island chapter, they serve approx 1,200 people a day, and they expect that number to grow. “We have an aging population,” Meals on Wheels Staten Island President Joseph Tornello told NowThis. “That large baby boomer generation is only gonna reach our average age in 2030.”
Tornello said the daily face-to-face interaction is a very important component to what Meals on Wheels provides. “It adds a sense of security and well-being,” he said. “Somebody knows who I am.”
Volunteers were quick to share with NowThis how working with the service has benefited them. “Being able to help people that need help, that aren't able to get out themselves or feed themselves, it's a good feeling,” said Kerry Boyle, who started volunteering with her husband during COVID. “We make little friendships, too, along the way.”
Frank Staib began volunteering with the organization after he retired from the police department. For him, the most rewarding part is how glad people are to see you. “You have a little conversation with them,” he said. “There are times I've changed light bulbs for people, and little things like that.”
Tornello knows the organization would not work without amazing volunteers. “I always talk about my argument with volunteers,” he said. “I'll say to a volunteer, ‘We thank you so much for what you do.’ And invariably, 90% of the time, the volunteer will say, ‘No, no. I thank you more for letting me do this.’ And then I say, ‘No, I thank you more.' And that's a nice kind of argument to have.”
Through the Subaru Share the Love® Event, Meals on Wheels has delivered nearly 4 million meals and friendly visits to senior facing hunger and isolation. Find out how you can help support Meals on Wheels during the 2022 Subaru Share the Love® Event by visiting subaru.com/share.