FULTON, NY – Each weekday, around lunch time, Jane Kingsley anxiously awaits a knock on her kitchen door.
When she opens it up she’s happy to see that it’s the visitor she’s been waiting for, the Meals on Wheels volunteer driver delivering her meal.
This scene plays out in homes all over Oswego County as volunteers with Oswego County Opportunities Meals on Wheels program delivers more than 5,500 meals each week.
But for many OCO Meals on Wheels volunteers delivering the meal is only part of the story, the opportunity to visit with the person they are delivering to and check in on them is the most important part.
Connie Ryan, a salesperson for Century 21 Galloway in Oswego, recently became a volunteer driver for OCO’s Meals on Wheels program.
It didn’t take her long to realize that she was looking forward to seeing those she was delivering meals to as much as they were awaiting her visit.
“When I offered to substitute for my co-worker, Lori Stitt, for a few days I never anticipated how much I would enjoy doing it,” said Ryan. “I didn’t realize how valuable the Meals on Wheels program is until I began delivering meals. Making sure that our seniors are receiving nutritious meals, especially when they are unable to get out in the winter weather, is important. I also enjoy the opportunity to visit with them for a bit and see how they are doing. For many of them I may be the only visitor they see all day. “
Ryan is one of 105 volunteers that deliver meals one day a week to homebound seniors throughout Oswego County.
OCO is currently in need of additional drivers that would like to volunteer to deliver meals one day a week.
Routes average 4 to 5 miles and include approximately 14 stops.
Training is provided and drivers pick up the meals at convenient locations that are nearby their route.
“OCO’s Meals on Wheels program is a perfect example of neighbors helping neighbors,” said OCO Volunteer Coordinator Christine Parks. “Drivers tell us they love it and that it is a good feeling to know that are helping others.”
In addition to community volunteers Parks said that many business and organizations including Oswego Industries, ARISE, the OCO Day Hab program, OCO Family Care, Oswego Rotary, Pathfinder Bank and the Oswego County Sheriff office in city of Oswego, support Meals on Wheels and have employees that volunteer as drivers.
“It’s a very rewarding experience, added Ryan. “We didn’t have much growing up so whenever possible I like to pay it forward. Being a Meals on Wheels volunteer is a great way to serve the community and make sure our seniors are safe and doing well, especially in the winter months.”
For more information on becoming a volunteer with OCO’s Meals on Wheels program contact Parks at 315 -598-4712 ext. 1807 or visit www.oco.org.
OCO, Inc. is a private, non-profit agency that has been supporting communities throughout Oswego County since 1966.
A member agency of the United Way of Greater Oswego County, OCO provides more than 50 vital services throughout 100 separate locations.
For more information, visit www.oco.org.
Did you know? It’s OCO!