When we were living in Ireland, we rented a garden flat in a 3-story 6-unit apartment building in Dun Laoghaire (it’s pronounced “Dun Leery”. The h is silent.). Our landlord was the Dun Laoghaire Borough Old Folks Association, and they had their monthly meetings in the apartment above us. Our neighbors on the other side of the ground floor was the Meals on Wheels of Dun Laoghaire.
This group was amazing. There was a small crew of 4-5 regular volunteers, plus several others who helped out in the kitchen, along with dozens of drivers. The kitchen crew had a target number of meals to prepare and box up. The drivers had their routes to deliver. When the timing worked out right, the drivers would show up just as the last boxes were being packed and could pick up their boxes and be on their way in seconds. The kitchen crew had perfected the portion sizes over the years so that there always seemed to be just enough.
Since we were literally next-door neighbors, they gave us a key to their side. My contribution was to prep the potatoes for them the night before. They had a commercial grade potato peeler that could prep 5 pounds per batch. My job was to prep 20 pounds of potatoes, quarter them and leave them in large pots of water to soak overnight. That saved the day crew a significant amount of work, and you can imagine how important that particular ingredient was to the old Irishfolk.
Now, the Irish are generally lovely, friendly people anyway, but I think one reason everyone was especially up-beat is because everyone knew how important what they were doing was. It really was so much more than the food, although that was certainly the focus. Their daily visits were the highlight of the day for a lot of their elderly, and everyone knew it.
The Trump administration revealed their budget on Wednesday. The budget cuts funding for around 50 programs, including one that provides grants to Meals on Wheels. Now, people are looking into how to donate, as the hashtag #LetThemDie trends on Twitter.
If you would like to donate at the national level to Meals on Wheels, https://www.mowaa.org/donate
If you would like to volunteer with MoW, check it out here – http://www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org/take-action/volunteer/