Serving 134 seniors along 18 different routes throughout Pickens County, Director Meg Benko can envision a day when Meals on Wheels truly lives up to its goal: “That no senior goes hungry.” As it is, a long list of seniors wait not only for nourishing meals, but for the vital contact and comfort provided by visits from compassionate volunteers, currently numbering over 300. With this significant army of helpers on hand, Benko could provide yet another 80 seniors with a friend and a meal tomorrow if only she had additional funding. Unlike larger Meals on Wheels programs with in-house kitchens, Pickens County buys their meals from entities such as Cannon Memorial Hospital. Benko is determined to “make the waiting list a thing of the past.” With more than 8% of Pickens County seniors living below the poverty line, and 48% dealing with disabilities, Benko is tackling an ambitious task. But for her, the rewards are tremendous. “It’s so hard to sum up what Meals on Wheels means in a few sentences,” she says. “I am always amazed by the effect it has not just on the recipient, but on the volunteer. Real friendships are made here.” Justin’s wife, Beth Winter, has been delivering meals for almost two years, and says, “When I deliver a meal, I feel thanked and appreciated far beyond the small service I’ve performed. This speaks of the tremendous impact just a few moments of my time can make to some of the loneliest of Pickens’ residents. I count these dear people as my friends.” And for seniors struggling with the realities of loneliness and isolation, such real friendships can make all the difference. The importance of human contact, of a friend who knows habits and patterns, and can recognize when something is amiss cannot be understimated. As a donation driven charity, Meals on Wheels depends on the generosity of the community to continue its mission. To find out more, go to www.pcmow.org or call (864) 878-7650.