Meals on Wheels honors volunteers for hard work during volunteer - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Meals on Wheels honors volunteers for hard work during volunteer week


April is National Volunteerism Awareness Month, and one local organization is celebrating their volunteers and the essential work they do every day.

Meals on Wheels of East Texas is honoring their volunteers with special lunches and small gifts this week.

Staff members get to work around 5 a.m., getting started on the nearly 3,000 meals that other volunteers will deliver in six East Texas counties later each day.

And Meals on Wheels staff say that, in this economy, without these volunteers, the organization wouldn't be able to serve the number of people that they currently do.

"The prices of gas just continue to go up. We do have hired drivers, but that costs money. So as many people as we have to pay to drive -- the vehicle maintenance, the gas costs -- that limits the number of people we're able to serve," said Zoe Lawhorn, Meals on Wheels's Director of Development.

Lawhorn says it's volunteers like Gwen Holman and Decker Kennington who help take a lot of costs out of delivering these meals and allow meals on wheels to serve more people.

"I just like helping out the elderly," said Holman, who has been volunteering with Meals on Wheels since 1999. "They really look forward to getting their meal, and they're just sitting there waiting for us. Sometimes they don't have anybody to talk to. It's good to talk with them."

"It really makes you appreciate what I personally have. I'm healthy. A lot of these folks are kind of homebound. They cannot get out and drive a car or go to the grocery store or get them something to eat," said Kennington, who has been a Meals on Wheels volunteer for 20 years.

"They're here 4 days a week," Lawhorn said. "They deliver 5 meals every week to people who otherwise would go hungry and possibly not even see anybody that day or that week or that month. So it's just an awesome work that they do and we just want to make sure that they're recognized for their dedication and their hard work."

Volunteers commit to helping out about an hour and a half a day for however many days they can -- some volunteer one day a week, some one day a month.

If you'd like to volunteer your time or your money, you can contact Meals on Wheels at 903-593-7385 or visit their website.

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