Bob Hulsey, carrying a large sack with a mouth-watering aroma, walked up to an apartment door and knocked.
“Meals on Wheels,” he said, loud enough to be heard inside the apartment.
After a pause, Geraldine Travis opened the door with a smile. Hulsey, a volunteer with Meals on Wheels of Metro Tulsa, briefly chatted with Travis as if greeting an old friend. Though Hulsey, 70, is a naturally warm and open person, his conversations during meal deliveries have a purpose beyond small talk.
“We’re encouraged to interact with them, see their condition, and let them know if they could use any support,” he says.
Travis is just one of 1,700 home-bound seniors in the Tulsa metro area who rely on MOW for nutritious, fresh-prepared meals delivered weekly. In many cases, their interactions with MOW volunteers are also their sole source of regular human interaction.
CEO Katie Oatsvall says the number of senior clients they serve continues to grow as the agency receives 150 applications for services each month, with each client needing services for an average of six months.
The majority of clients are age 62 or older, but an adult of any age who has consistent difficulty cooking or shopping for themselves due to age, disability, illness or injury could potentially qualify. The organization estimates 26% of Oklahoma seniors are threatened by hunger, and the problem could quickly get worse.
“The aging population is growing 20 times faster than the younger population,” she says. “We have been preparing for this growing need and, with the increased support from our community, are positioned to meet this challenge.”
Read full story at Tulsa People.