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'They don't have anybody coming to see them': Demand grows for Meals on Wheels program in West MI

The program is in need of volunteers as snow birds head south and as population ages.

NORTON SHORES, Mich. — It's the season of giving and a local organization is hoping people will give their time volunteering. 

Meals on Wheels offers nutritious home-delivered meals for the elderly and disabled across West Michigan.

Besides being an associate pastor at a local church, Ronald Pimpleton also works as a driver for Meals on Wheels in Muskegon County. He serves around 30 people a day, five times a week.

"Most of them are just waiting on me to get there," said Pimpleton. "They really like the fact they have somebody to communicate with because a lot of times they don't have anybody coming to see them."

AgeWell Services provides Meals on Wheels for Muskegon, Ottawa and Oceana Counties.

Between Meals on Wheels and its lunch and activity centers, it serves more than 1,500 meals a day.

Since the pandemic, the demand for meals has been increasing as the population ages.

"Approximately 10,000 people a day turn 60 with the baby boomer generation and so, that's increasing the demand on our services," said Alicia Roberts, a Marketing Specialist at AgeWell Services. 

Rising inflation may also be a factor.

The program needs volunteer drivers as snow birds head south, but also to meet the growing demand.

"They provide more than just a meal. That comfort and friendly smile they otherwise don't have," said Roberts.

For just a few hours a day, once a week, you can be a friendly face for someone in need. Just take it from Ron.

"If you really want to have some fun, you should volunteer. You got a lot of great people you're working with. I'm busy a lot and I've considered not doing it, but I just can't stop. I just love people," said Pimpleton.

For more information about the Meals on Wheels program, please call 231-755-0434 or 1-800-442-6769.

AgeWell Services is also in need of volunteers for their annual DTE Energy Foundation Holiday Meal on Thursday, Dec. 15. Reservations are required and space is limited. Call 2-1-1 or your local meal site to reserve your spot between Nov. 14 though Dec. 9. 


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