Local mom Tina Mackey went a Meals On Wheels trip with her kids so that she could share with us her experience. For more ideas of how to give back, see our list of ways to volunteer with kids in Greenville.
Ya’ll, have you every thought about something for a long time (I mean years). And you have in your mind how it should go? That’s how it was for me with Meals on Wheels. This has been something I’ve wanted to do for years. I had preconceived notions about time commitment, how it would work taking children, how often I would have to commit to driving, and much more. Let me tell you how Meals on Wheels is not at all what I expected it to be.
How volunteering with Meals On Wheels went for my family
First, let me say that our experience with Meals on Wheels was far better than anything I ever thought it would be. This is one of those times that I ended up saying, “why haven’t we done this sooner?” We began by going to orientation and learning about the organization. Being briefed on how things worked made us confident that we could really do this.
Next, we picked up our food. The food packages are pretty straight forward. They have special trays for certain dietetic restrictions, but other than that it was pretty simple. All food is cooked and packaged at their site just off of Augusta St. If you want to be assigned a route further out of town, you have the option of picking up your food from a drop off site closer to your location.
Last, we drove to our locations. The papers that they give you detail everything. It gives you directions to your first house along with the house description and specific directions on where and how to drop the food. (Food is never to be left alone on a porch). Then, you follow the directions to your next house. Even if you don’t have GPS, you can do this just by following their written instructions. We were finished with our route in exactly 1 1/2 hours.
Things you should know
Orientations are every Thursday at 9:30 am.
Food pick-up can be at the downtown location or at a food drop elsewhere.
Food pickup begins at 10 am.
Most people like to pickup at 10 am and be finished by 12 pm.
MoW services a very large area including places from Travelers Rest all the way down to Fountain Inn and beyond.
You do not have to commit to a consistent drop, but can choose on a weekly basis.
Time commitment is roughly 2 hours.
There are other ways to volunteer your time from greeting volunteers to cooking and packaging the meals.
Benefits I didn’t expect
The clients were so happy to see us and genuinely thankful for us.
You are welcome to visit with clients.
My son got great experience with navigation!
My kids loved meeting new people and having a chance to help them.
My children each took turns knocking on doors and taking the lead on talking to the clients. I loved that they had a chance to learn assertiveness.
We saw parts of Greenville that we’ve never seen.
There was lots of time in the car to talk about how we can help others.
My high-schooler got service hours.
How to get started
Contact Leslie LaRue, Volunteer Services Coordinator
Phone: 864.233.6565 ext 216
Meals on Wheels main office location is found at 15 Oregon Street in Greenville.
So if you’re thinking of volunteering, but are hesitant because you’re not sure what to expect, my advice would be to go ahead and try it. They would be more than happy for you to try it once just to see how it works for your family. And from then, you can commit to a weekly route or just takes routes as they fit into your schedule.
Give it a try! You won’t be sorry!