If you’d like to be a Meals on Wheels volunteer in Amory, call Sister Marie Gilligan or Sister Kathy Quigley at 256-8392.
Sister Marie Gilligan, left, visits with Meals on Wheels participant Madge Hill of Amory. Gilligan, who has been with the program for 23 years, screens participants and coordinates the program that serves about 35 residents.
By Eileen Bailey
AMORY -Amory resident Madge Hill spent many years volunteering for such organizations as Meals on Wheels and the Food Pantry.
Now, unable to fix meals like she used to, the 83-year-old is dependent herself on Meals on Wheels.
Hill said last fall she began having dizzy spells and was not even able to stand up long enough to fix a meal. That was when Hill said she decided to sign up as a participant in the program she had been associated with for many years as a volunteer.
After several months, Hill is better but still needs the services provided by the organization that has been in Amory since 1973.
“It has meant a lot to me and has been a lifesaver,” Hill said. “The meals are good and the volunteers stop and talk with me. I haven’t found one (a volunteer) that was not nice.”
And volunteers are just what Meals on Wheels needs right now.
Program founded in 1973
The Meals on Wheels program was begun by the Glenmary Missions 23 years ago with a donation of $20,000 in seed money, said Sister Marie Gilligan, who has been with the program since she moved to Amory several months after the program began.
Gilligan and Sister Kathy Quigley are members of the Sisters of Charity and serve the parishioners of St. Helen’s Catholic Church. Gilligan said she joined Meals on Wheels and has stayed with it because it is a program that has helped so many. “It is such a wonderful program and provides so much, I couldn’t not do it,” she said.
The program has survived thanks to community support in the form of monetary donations and volunteers, but more volunteers are needed now to help coordinate and deliver food. For the last three years, additional monetary assistance from the United Way of Monroe County has been given to Meals on Wheels. Also, the Three Rivers Council on Aging in Pontotoc provides 50 cents toward each meal.
These funds along with donations help provide hot lunches to home-bound residents on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The food items are brought to Amory from Batesville in big steamers, which keep the food hot. Volunteers from area churches take turns dishing out the meals and delivering them.
The meals – usually a meat, two vegetables, bread, dessert and milk – are placed in aluminum containers with tops then placed in an insulated chest to keep warm.
Volunteers said they enjoy the work they do. For the last few years, Jim and Shirley Rochester of Amory have volunteered to deliver meals.
“We volunteer because it is a service to the community and because we love people,” Shirley Rochester said. “I always try to spend a moment or two with each person. Sometimes, this is the only contact they have.”
Gilligan said the volunteers have helped in other ways. “A few weeks ago, some volunteers were delivering a meal and the resident couldn’t come to the door,” she said. “When they opened the door they noticed the participant had fallen on the floor.”
The volunteers called 911 and one even rode with the victim to the hospital.