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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Meals on Wheels Spokane, Feed Thy Neighbor volunteers deliver around 400 Thanksgiving meals to seniors

Around 400 Thanksgiving meals were delivered Thursday to seniors and homebound individuals throughout the city.

The deliveries were coordinated by Meals on Wheels Spokane and Feed Thy Neighbor of the Inland Northwest. Feed Thy Neighbor volunteer Penny Moyer said around 70 volunteers helped with this year’s deliveries.

While Meals On Wheels has hosted in-person Thanksgiving meals in the past, that was scrapped this year due to COVID-19 concerns.

“Oftentimes, this is the only contact these individuals will have today,” said Jim Moyer, Penny’s husband and fellow volunteer. “The other significance is the people that drive, they can recognize a need in the community. Anybody who volunteers here says, ‘Can we come back at the next holiday?’ ”

Food preparation started in the Mid-City Concerns Senior Center’s kitchen Wednesday night.

Among other items, volunteers worked through 120 pounds of potatoes on top of another 100 pounds of sweet potatoes, Penny Moyer said. Volunteers also cut and prepared 400 pieces of pie.

“We always have new volunteers and people that want to get involved, and I love that. That’s a big part of it for us,” Jim Moyer said. “It’s a blessing for the community, but it’s also a blessing for the ones who get to serve.”

For Melody Pugh and her children, their first foray into volunteering to help the deliveries started with a bit of adventure.

Her son Austin, 19, pulled up to the first of nine stops at the onset of a shower. The precipitation had cleared by the time they were navigating unmarked buildings en route to their second stop, walking around a boarded-up structure to follow a road to a rear apartment.

By the third delivery, Melody’s 16-year-old daughter Ava replaced her as navigator when the family ended up on East Mission Avenue instead of West.

The food made it, nonetheless. One person who received a meal from the Pughs called it “a blessing.”

Another, Dew Warnock, shared that sentiment.

“Wow,” Warnock said. “I’m surprised and grateful, guys.”

Melody Pugh said she was eager to volunteer with her family out of a sense of “paying it forward.” She said her family was helped through tough times over the last couple years between COVID-19 and other personal challenges.

The experience helped to put those issues into perspective, she said.

“It’s a reminder that even when we feel like we’ve lost things or it’s been hard, there are so many more people that have it harder than you do,” she said. “It helps to keep the really important things in focus, like friends and family. The simple things, like food on the table or a roof over our head, that we take for granted are sometimes a luxury for other people.”