POSITIVELY 50+

Positively 50+: ‘Meals on Wheels’ volunteer delivers more than just meals

Apr 26, 2024, 3:14 PM | Updated: 3:15 pm

Robert Wetzel, who volunteers with "Meals on Wheels" delivering a meal to Lola Anderson at her home...

Robert Wetzel, who volunteers with "Meals on Wheels" delivering a meal to Lola Anderson at her home. (KSL TV)

(KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY — One of the most critical elements of aging is being able to stay in one place, at home, instead of relying on assisted living or a nursing home. One volunteer who is always on the go, delivering more than just meals.

Robert Wetzel probably wouldn’t consider what he does charity. It’s more of a mutual exchange of friendship that just happens to help others. He’s done it hundreds of times.

“The greatest thing about it is the flexibility. You can come in one day a week, two days a week,” Wetzel said.

Wetzel packing his meals in a delivery bag.

Wetzel packing his meals in a delivery bag. (KSL TV)

As he gets behind the wheel to deliver a meal for “Meals on Wheels,” he also delivers kindness and connection.

“It’s a godsend, let me tell you,” Wetzel said.

Lola Anderson said she appreciated Wetzel’s time and attention as they bonded through their visits.

The Meals on Wheels program helped her stay put while she recovers from a medical procedure last fall. And when she sees Robert roll up to her door, it gives her a reason to smile.

“It’s so nice to see a person when you’re home all day. It really helps to have that connection,” Anderson said.

Wetzel and Anderson talking to each other after the delivery.

Wetzel and Anderson talking to each other after the delivery. (KSL TV)

“A little bit of friendliness and combating that social isolation is really what it’s all about for us,” said Afton January with the Salt Lake County Aging and Adult Services.

January said that Meals on Wheels delivers around 1,500 meals every day just in the Salt Lake Valley, which adds up to more than 350,000 meals every year. If that sounds like a daunting task, Wetzel said that if individuals work together, great things can happen.

“You can do it on a lunch break. It’s usually no more than an hour, maybe an hour and a half. Most employers are more than willing to let you off to do something to serve the community,” Wetzel said.

And it’s a service that Anderson appreciates more than she can say.

“It could really help someone in need, and the food’s pretty good, too,” Anderson said.

If you’d like to see what volunteer opportunities fit your lifestyle visit the Salt Lake County website. 

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Positively 50+: ‘Meals on Wheels’ volunteer delivers more than just meals