KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – It’s Mobile Meals’ biggest fundraiser: Power of the Purse coming up September 19th.
You can have dinner, buy a designer handbag and help Mobile Meals continue to provide seniors in our area with a nutritious meal five days a week.
But it’s much more than that.
Our Mobile Meals program is one of only 10 nationwide, recently awarded a grant by the Meals on Wheels Association, to implement a new app designed to add a layer of protection to the people they serve.
Hundreds of meals are packed inside containers at Mobile Meals headquarters in Knox County.
One of them is brought out to Gary and Patti West.
The couple has been volunteering together for the past eight years.
“They’re a great organization, ” Patti says, “and they do such good work on the monies they have. Money is very limited and so they make the most out of all of it.”
The Wests are among the 100 volunteers a day who travel 1500 miles across all of Knox County on 68 routes.
Mobile Meals says that volunteer spirit saves the agency more than 1.3 million dollars a year.
The new Mobile Meals app makes navigating to each home easier for volunteers.
“They’re out providing those daily safety checks, ” says Mobile Meals manager Judith Pelot. “They’re not only serving the meal, but they’re checking on their needs.”
As the Wests arrive at a client’s home, carefully selecting a meal along with milk and utensils, they make their way up the steps to the door where today, they wait for someone to answer, a bit longer than normal.
After a few minutes, client Christina answers the door. Thankfully, all is well.
“Hello! Hi Christina! So good to see you, you look great!” say the Wests.
It’s a rewarding moment for the three who’ve gotten to know each other pretty well over the years.
“You behave, ” Christina jokes. The Wests laugh and say, “she knows us.”
Gary West shares, “the smiling faces, you’re dealing with a lot of shut-ins that don’t normally see a lot of people on a daily basis so we are kind of their only contact for that day.”
And thanks to the new app, Gary and Patti can quickly indicate any concerns they may have about their clients, information that will immediately go to Mobile Meals staff much quicker than the old paper or phone call process.
The goal is to help seniors stay in their homes , improving five balanced meals a week, serving a total of 1677 people.
We say a big thank you to Mobile Meals and its giving volunteers.
And Patti says, “anytime anyone says to me on the route, ‘thank you or bless you’ I think I’m the one who’s blessed.”
Patti West also serves on the planning committee for Power of the Purse.
There are limited tickets to the event on Sept. 19 at Rothchild’s Catering on Kingston Pike.
Doors open at 4:45 pm.
For tickets: www.knoxseniors.org