By Belinda Whatley

Almost 15% of the Dothan population is aged 65 years and older, and many of these seniors struggle to shop, prepare and cook healthy meals for themselves. For those who can’t make it out, not being able to cook their own food often means they go unfed.

However, with the help of Meals on Wheels, a ministry of the First United Methodist Church of Dothan, and Wesley Manor Retirement Community, people who are unable to prepare their own food have access to meals every weekday. Wesley Manor has been a partner with Meals on Wheels since the retirement community’s beginning more than forty years ago.

“For those who are not able to get out or cook, it means being able to have a hot, nutritious meal,” says Donna Everett, Wesley Manor’s Dining Services Director.

From left to right: Wesley Manor employees Tina Chambers and Seth Youngblood and Meals on Wheels Volunteer Maria Shelor.

From left to right: Wesley Manor employees Tina Chambers and Seth Youngblood and Meals on Wheels Volunteer Maria Shelor.

Wesley Manor’s dining services department prepares, cooks, and packages between 60 and 70 meals for Meals on Wheels volunteers to pick up and distribute each weekday. There are about 125 volunteers who distribute the meals to seven routes within the Dothan city limits.

Over time, those meals really add up: 60 meals per day, 5 days per week, for 52 weeks, equals 15,600 meals per year. Wesley Manor has been partnering with Meals on Wheels since the community opened in 1968. In those 48 years, Wesley Manor has created more than 500,000 meals for local seniors.

“When we see all these people come in the building, taking the trays out, it gives us a good feeling that we’re truly serving our community,” says Donna.

Each meal prepared by Wesley Manor’s dining services staff includes a meat, two vegetables and bread. It’s Ms. Everett’s responsibility to coordinate the efforts and make sure the meals are ready when volunteers arrive each day.

“It gives us pride knowing that we’re able to help,” adds Donna. “It’s great knowing that we’re helping elderly people who aren’t able to go out, and to feed someone who otherwise might not eat today.”

If you know someone who would benefits from nutritious meals delivered to his or her door, please contact the First United Methodist Church of Dothan at (334) 793- 3555.

The Alabama Nursing Home Association salutes Wesley Manor and the Meals on Wheels volunteers. They’re Difference Makers that generously support their community.

Editor’s Note: Belinda Whatley is Marketing Director for Wesley Manor. This article was adapted from a press release.