Founded in 1965 to support seniors struggling with poverty, food insecurity and social isolation, Meals on Wheels Atlanta (MOWA) has evolved over the years to become one of the most formidable organizations dedicated to eliminating senior food insecurity and ending hunger in the Southeast. In addition to preparing and delivering more than 600,000 meals a year in Atlanta, MOWA established a home repair program that offers critical support to seniors and veterans, enabling them to maintain their independence; and an emergency food and pet food pantry. MOWA’s commitment to supporting seniors and veterans, which allows them to live a healthier and more nourished life in their own homes, is the main mission of the organization. As MOWA continues to strengthen its commitment to Atlanta’s senior and veteran populations, its need for amazing volunteers to fulfill their mission will continue to grow as well.
For George Calfo, a new volunteer at MOWA, volunteerism has always been a way of life. “I’ve been very fortunate in my life, and with that good fortune I feel a strong responsibility to my fellow human beings who haven’t been as lucky.” Food line coverage during the pandemic was particularly heartbreaking for George. “In many ways it was hard not to see oneself in those lines.” George and other members of his men’s group at the Buckhead Church decided to zero in on MOWA. MOWA was one of the only food related organizations that was still accepting in-person volunteers in Atlanta at the time.
Since then, George has been giving about three hours every Saturday morning to MOWA and is involved in the final steps of getting the meals into the delivery cars and on their way to recipients. “Super Saturday Meal Delivery is manual labor. It requires someone to show up early and be consistent, regardless of weather,” says George. “I basically will do whatever the staff needs. It is a fun group of equally committed folks from all different walks of life, which I really enjoy.”
Currently the need for volunteers across the country is great. Anyone who can spare some time or talent can have a huge impact on the lives of people everywhere. “I’d like to encourage folks not to let the enormity of the issues stand in the way of doing something - anything,” says George. “It’ll make our community better, and for me it’s made my life far richer." George’s "just do it attitude" is contagious. “It’s needed,” says George, “and it’s crazy how much more rewarding contributing is versus receiving. Plus, you’ll meet some really cool people!”
George and his wife Emily recently gifted another volunteer at MOWA two tickets to their annual fundraiser, Savor: A Meal to Remember, as a way of strengthening their personal commitment not only to the organization, but to everyone who gives back to MOWA. “I would like to say that there are many wonderful MOWA staff and volunteers doing amazing work, I just happen to be one of many,” says George of his volunteerism.
There are many ways to support MOWA throughout the year, including upcoming fundraising events such as TASTE. This inaugural fundraiser is being held at Chattahoochee Works on February 18, 2022. Guests will gather to enjoy a curated menu featuring tastes from over twenty food hall chefs and businesses.
To learn more about MOWA and TASTE or to learn more about volunteering and ways to contribute, please visit MOWAtl.org