The Sun News

Volunteering is all about family at Meals on Wheels

Al Richardson, a volunteer with Houston County Meals on Wheels, delivers food to client Lula Fountain.
Al Richardson, a volunteer with Houston County Meals on Wheels, delivers food to client Lula Fountain. Special to The Sun News

Al Richardson didn’t have a hard time deciding what he wanted to do during his retirement years.

Richardson, who retired from Robins Air Force Base about 14 years ago, wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps. His father, Byron Richardson, who lived in Tucson, Arizona, volunteered with Meals on Wheels.

“He gave it up on his 80th birthday,” said Richardson, who is 76. “He had great experiences delivering, and I wanted to share in that.”

For many of the people who receive a meal from Meals on Wheels, that volunteer who delivers their food may be the only human they see that day.

“I know the people on my routes pretty well,” said Richardson, who delivers four days a week. “You get a lot of satisfaction out of volunteering and delivering. You get to see how the people are doing and pick up on whatever is happening in their lives. If you are retired and looking for something meaningful to do, try delivering for Meals on Wheels.”

Richardson was selected as a Red Cross Hometown Hero this year for his work with Meals on Wheels.

The Houston County Council on Aging’s Meals on Wheels was started in Warner Robins in 1977 and delivers meals 52 weeks a year. About 186 people receive meals five days a week.

While many Meals on Wheels across the country have gone to paid drivers, the Houston County agency still relies on volunteers to deliver the meals. According to Meals on Wheels director Kenny Weaver, Houston County continues to use volunteers because of the importance of the human contact that volunteers provide to their clients. Meals on Wheels feeds people who are homebound, at high nutrition risk and significantly physically impaired.

Meals are delivered Monday through Friday, and a route takes about 1.5 hours. Meals on Wheels is very flexible with their volunteers’ schedules and has volunteers who work every day, once a week, once every two weeks, etc. Organizations and businesses also volunteer, especially church groups and groups from the base. Weaver said that a group will commit to a day and a route and then arrange for members to cover it.

The Waterford Ladies Golf Association will be hosting its 18th annual Meals on Wheels golf tournament Oct. 15. The tournament is a four-person scramble with lunch at 11:30 a.m. and a shotgun start at 1 p.m. The cost is $50 per person and includes lunch and door prizes. Hole sponsors are also available.

“For those unable to make it out to the tournament, you can show your love and compassion by making a tax-deductible donation to Houston County Council on Aging,” Weaver said. The mailing address is P.O. Box 118, Warner Robins, GA, 31099, or donations can be made online at www.hocomow.org.

One hundred percent of your contribution stays in Houston County.

If you know someone 60 or older who has great difficulty feeding themselves, call Meals on Wheels at 478-328-6070. For more information or to sign up for the golf tournament, call Waterford Golf Course at 328-7533.

Alline Kent can be contact at allinekent@cox.net or 396-2467.

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