Meals on Wheels prepares for snow: Four-wheel drive vehicles needed

By Matt Butner - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Another winter storm means another challenge for Meals on Wheels. The food delivery service for seniors needs more wheels- specifically, four wheel drive vehicles. This time, the winter weather is arriving on a Friday, which is a big delivery day for the program.

Weekday mornings are always hectic at the Meals on Wheels distribution center near Willow Lawn.

"On a given day, it's busy, from 10:00 to about 11 is our crunch time," said Volunteer Coordinator Jackie Farell.

But Fridays stand out, because that's when the weekend meals go out. There's no delivery on Saturday or Sunday. And this Friday, it looks like the weather will be a factor.

"We're monitoring the situation probably hourly if not more, and we're discussing a plan. We're looking at maybe delivering a little early tomorrow, just to ensure we get everything out," said Peter Sokol, FeedMore VP of Operations.

Last weekend's snow prompted a call for four-wheel drive vehicles to help deliver meals over slick or blocked roads. This time around, they're looking for more of the same.

"We're always making a list of potential inclement weather drivers. We put them on a spreadsheet and save them for a rainy-slash-snowy day," said Sokol.

"It's not just being able to drive the vehicle, it's being able to maneuver to these homes in the event it's slick, icy, or a porch that hasn't been swept off yet," said Farell.

Not all volunteers' vehicles fit the bill.

"I would have trouble driving in my Prius if the roads weren't cleared," said Volunteer Julie Sidhartha.

Meals on Wheels delivers to about 1,500 people locally, most of them elderly or home-bound. It's an important mission- one that continues despite bad weather. And this winter has seen plenty of it.

"At times nightmarish, but we always manage to get through. We haven't closed in six years. I've been here eight years, and we haven't closed in six years, so we get it done. Our volunteers are great, and the community comes out to support us when we need them," said Sokol.

Meals on Wheels is always looking for volunteers. If you want to help this weekend or any time, you can reach them at 521-2500. 

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