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Hartselle Enquirer

Meals on Wheels client, volunteer both value program

By R. Sirvell Carter

For the Enquirer

Connie Edwards, 79, has been a recipient of Meals on Wheels & More for several years, and has been especially grateful for the food and companionship the program offers since her husband Allen died two years ago.

“As a (homebound) person, it’s important these people check on you,” the Hartselle resident said. “They ask you how you’re doing, how you’re feeling, and give you a little cheer, plus they hand you a plate of food. And it’s good food. It has all of the daily requirements as far as meat, vegetables and fruit, a little dessert or a piece of bread.”

Meals On Wheels & More has served residents of Morgan County within the Decatur and Hartselle city limits since 1972. The program, staffed largely by volunteers, delivers meals to disabled, elderly and homebound residents. The Decatur Daily annually accepts financial contributions for the program throughout the month of February and publishes the names of contributors who want to be recognized.

“They are in need of donations,” Edwards said of Meals on Wheels. “Not just monetary donations but labor, love donations. For volunteers to donate a morning to deliver food.”

Kitchen manager Shontez Wynn, along with one other full-time employee and four part-time workers, prepares meals to be delivered Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, with Tuesday deliveries to return in March. Cooking time starts at 6:30 a.m., and volunteers pick up the meals for delivery at 9:30 a.m. at the kitchen, located at 1510 Fourth Ave. S.E. in Decatur.

“I’m so appreciative of the ladies who bring food to me,” Edwards said. “They are very sweet.”

Edwards said Meals on Wheels and its volunteers help fill a void for her and for many of the program’s other clients.

“Hopefully when the public gets to that age in life they will have someone,” Edwards said. “I have no family. My husband has passed and we didn’t have children together. We were married for 43 years.”

One person who has filled that gap for Edwards is Meals on Wheels volunteer Illa Molden, 59, a Hartselle resident and longtime friend of Edwards. Molden began volunteering for the program 10 years ago.

“She is on hospice and needs help,” Molden said of her friend. “She thinks it’s all me helping her but it’s not. She helps me every day.”

Molden’s path to volunteering for Meals on Wheels took her through family loss, personal struggles and eventual recovery.

“I lost my mother in 2001 to cancer,” Molden said. “I took care of her until she died, and I’d seen and lived through things that I just didn’t handle.”

Molden struggled with drug addiction for 12 years until 2013, when “God intervened in my life.” Her journey eventually led to her to rehabilitation with Milestone Recovery in Hartselle.

“They deliver for Meals on Wheels,” Molden explained. “That’s how I got started doing Meals on Wheels.”

Molden, who delivers on Wednesdays, emphasized the importance of connecting to the community through programs like Meals on Wheels.

“I know the Bible says to serve, and that’s one of the ways I try to serve, to help the elderly,” Molden said. “I think we need people to help and for people to know there are people out there that love to help, that want to help.”

There is no cost to the recipient for the Meals on Wheels & More services, which are provided through partnerships such as United Way, local businesses, churches, other local organizations and private donations.

Molden said she has built valuable relationships with Meals on Wheels clients, like Edwards, and also with the kitchen staff.

“I love the program,” Molden said. “Shontez and (the rest of the kitchen staff) are wonderful people and prayerful people. I just love what they do.”

Meals on Wheels is in search of volunteers to deliver meals, especially to help resume Thursday deliveries, and to help prepare meals at the kitchen. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Wynn at 256-351-6850, 256-565-3386 or shontez.wynn@capna.org.



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