Day of Caring for Meals on Wheels program

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GRANDVILLE, Mich. -- Many West Michigan seniors on fixed incomes need help every day to put food on the table. Thanks to hundreds of volunteers, those in need are getting some extra help today as part of United Way's annual 'Day of Caring.'

'Day of Caring' began 15 years ago right after the 9/11 attacks, with businesses and individuals stepping forward to help thousands of seniors in Kent County put food on the table.

"It means to me that I'm able to stay in my house," said Terri Shackelton, a Meals on Wheels client. "I'm not totally independent, but I feel like I am now."

As part of 'Day of Caring', volunteers were at Western Michigan Meals on Wheels headquarters in Grandville putting emergency food packages together for winter weather situations. If inclement weather keeps trucks from making their daily deliveries, these food packages are what seniors eat until the roads are clear.

Other volunteers rode along with drivers to deliver meals, while still others helped with equipment maintenance and other tasks at the Grandville location.

Meals on Wheels staff members say they appreciate the extra help, and see it as an opportunity to spread awareness to hunger and nutrition issues for the elderly in West Michigan. "It's really important when we can have large groups of volunteers participating," said Dave Woudstra, Delivery and Distribution Manager. "This is something that we do everyday, but the task is pretty monumental and it really does require the entire community."

Meals on Wheels provided about a half million meals in Kent County last year to seniors aged 60 and above. For information on how to volunteer, click here.

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