JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – More than 1,200 older adults in the Northeast Florida area had something to eat on Thanksgiving thanks to Ascension St. Vincent’s and other local groups who prepared and delivered the meals to those who may have not had something special to eat otherwise.
It’s a decades-long tradition that is touching the hearts of not only the recipients but the volunteers.
“Having this means a lot to me. It really does. I am very thankful. I thank God and I know it comes from God,” said Roxanne Lynch who received a meal on Thursday.
It’s a delivery Mrs. Lynch truly needed, especially when you hear what would have been on the menu for her without it.
“I would be eating a sandwich,” Lynch said.
Volunteers with groups including Ascension St. Vincent’s and Aging True Community Senior Services are ensuring people like Mrs. Lynch and more than 1,250 of our senior neighbors in Duval and Clay counties do not have to worry about finding something to eat for Thanksgiving.
It takes a lot of time and a lot of hands to execute a plan like this. Dozens of volunteers make sure that all of the hot meals are prepared and packed in little containers for delivery.
The prep and deliveries have become longtime traditions for the many volunteers serving in different roles over the last 30 years.
Teddy Richardson is one of the drivers who drop off the meals. He’s been a part a part of it since day one.
“It’s joy in my mind because I know how it feels to be without a meal. My mother had 21 kids and we missed meals a lot of the time. I know how it feels. That is why I don’t mind doing this. I will continue doing it until they stop me,” Richardson said.
Then there are the three generations of the Naugle family. It’s been 13 years for Patty Naugle as a volunteer. She shared the moment with her adult daughter.
“When she was small, I used to take her and do meals on wheels. Now she is bringing me to do her meals on wheels,” said Patty Naugle.
Also joined by her two granddaughters to prep cold meals.
“They need love and care, especially today. We need to thank them for what they have done in giving to our generations. It is a great feeling to give back,” Naugle said.
Richard Joe, who represents the Masons and Eastern Stars, loaded the trucks. This is their 18th year being involved.
“It is not about self. It is about service,” Joe said. “We get to contribute to our aging elderly community and it is something that we just love to do.”
The volunteers said it’s about people like Mrs. Lynch.
Making certain she and the many others have what they need to fill their stomachs and their souls.
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