RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Rutherford County non-profit is going the extra mile to make sure senior citizens have a warm meal each day, but the organization is short on volunteers to handle the deliveries.
While hot meals are prepared, packaged, and ready to be delivered, Mid Cumberland Meals on Wheels in Smyrna needs more people to make the deliveries.
“I’m scheduled for Mondays, and this will be the third day this week I’ve delivered,” said Kederick Rutz, who is in his 13th year of helping the non-profit.
Rutz is one of many Smyrna residents dedicating time to those on the receiving end of the meals – people ages 60 and older who can’t prepare food for themselves and oftentimes don’t have many relatives. The deliveries are picked up around 10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday from the distribution site and sent off to residents throughout the city.
“The routes have varying sizes, so there are some routes that only take an hour or less, and others will take an hour and a half, maybe almost two hours,” said Rutz.
With the increasing need of residents and a growing wait list, the gaps in serving them are expanding.
“We’re serving a little over 100 people right now, and I have seven routes that I send out each day, and I have about 50 volunteers that deliver the routes, and I need a lot more,” explained Audrey Wildes, the site manager for the Smyrna location. “A lot of these people, the meal that they get that day, that’s the only meal they’ll have all day.”
When there aren’t enough volunteers available, Wildes — who creates the delivery calendar — will get on the road to make sure the meals make it.
Although more help may be required at times, for Rutz, the extra time spent making sure someone can eat is worth it. “Just having the belonging and knowing that you’re helping out your community and taking care of Smyrna is a real satisfaction,” he said.
You can learn more about becoming a volunteer or receiving meals through Mid Cumberland Meals on Wheels by following this link.