"We need Meals on Wheels drivers in Anna and Melissa," is the message from Pat Daniel, 16-year Melissa resident and long-time Meals on Wheels volunteer.

"There is a small but precious hidden treasure in Anna and Melissa that I have come to know. You may not be aware of them – they are the elders and shut-in people who can no longer get out and about as they used to," explained Daniel. "They are in their homes, waiting and depending on volunteers to come to them with their weekday hot lunches."

"We love our drivers, but some had to move and leave our program and those remaining need help," Daniel continued. "The more drivers we have, the more we can substitute for each other as the need arises. If we can’t cover the deliveries, the home-bound are left to eat frozen or boxed meals and miss out on the social input of a daily personal greeting."

Currently in Anna and Melissa meals are delivered to 12 clients. (That’s what the folks that receive meals are called.) So how does all this work?

As Daniel explained, the Collin County Meals on Wheels office in McKinney prepares all the meals for delivery in the county and distributes them to local pick-up locations — in this case the First Baptist Church in Melissa. Deliveries are made Monday through Friday. In addition to the hot lunch menu items, a few clients also receive breakfast meals and on Fridays some receive frozen meals for the weekend.

The drivers, and there are 10 of them, pick up the meals at 11 a.m. and are on the road for the next couple of hours delivering the meals.

"Commitment is based on volunteers’ desire and availability," said Daniel. "Some drive the same day every week, others two or three days per month, some only substitute for others."

They usually drive alone, but there are couples driving together or teaming up with friends, and with two in the car, as Daniel pointed out, it speeds up delivery and helps with organization and navigation.

And if you’re still not sure you can handle this, accompanying a driver to see what it’s all about can be arranged.

Qualifications to deliver Meals on Wheels are a Texas driver’s license, proof of auto insurance, the ability to pass a background check and attendance at a one-time orientation. And a friendly smile will be a big help.

To volunteer, or for more information, call Patricia Clampitt, the Collin County Volunteer Coordinator, at 972-562-6996 ext. 125 or email info@mowcc.com.

"We all just have to begin somewhere and see if it works with your other current life commitments," said Daniel. "It is very rewarding, and if we all work together what an ongoing impact we can make."