As a volunteer driver, Jesse knows how important Meals on Wheels is for seniors and disabled adults in our community.

“Being part of a team that delivers food to people who can’t get out feels like taking care of people in one of the most basic ways you can. [A lot of people I meet are living right on the edge, struggling to make it, and without the assistance they get from Meals on Wheels. I think they would be a lot closer to that edge.]”

Months into the COVID-19 crisis, the impact Jesse and his fellow volunteers have on our neighbors is clear.  Meals on Wheels now serves over 700 seniors and disabled adults in the Salem and Keizer areas.  The program has become an integral part of our community’s response to the health crisis.

For Jesse, being a volunteer driver helps forge a deeper connection to our community.  He values the relationship he has built with the seniors he visits, and knows he is providing more than just a meal.

“To me it’s delivering food, but to them…clearly it means much more than that. It’s conversation and connection to their community.”

This personal connection is critical in a COVID-19 world.  By providing food and a check in, the program contributes to the continued well-being of seniors in our community.  In addition, providing access to healthy, nutritious food helps seniors overcome new challenges created by the pandemic.  As important as the service Jesse provides is, he believes he gets just more in return.

“It’s the highlight of my day to have these 30 second, brief interactions, feeling the gratitude from people and seeing their faces light up.”

Help Jesse, Meals on Wheels and Marion Polk Food Share continue to ensure seniors and disabled adults have access to the food they need during this critical time by donating today.