SIOUX FALLS, SD -
Meals on Wheels in Sioux Falls delivers 325 meals delivered every day, meals that can make the ultimate difference.
"For some it could be the only meal they get because the rest of the time they may be eating cold cereal or sandwiches or something they can throw together," volunteer driver Duane Rhoadarmer said.
Volunteers for the Active Generation's Meals on Wheels program know the harsh reality.
"Sometimes the poverty of some of the people you take to is kind of unbelievable, but we know that it is out there," Rhoadarmer said.
That's why they meet everyday to prepare meals, hot and cold, for those who cannot properly feed themselves.
Duane Rhoadarmer started helping when he retired in 2006.
He volunteers to take on meal routes whenever he can.
"Just the knowledge and the pleasure of knowing that I'm helping people who are needing help and doing a service for them and their reaction of thankfulness when they get their meals," Rhoadarmer said.
Rhoadarmer has witnessed the good that groups like Active Generations can do for those who need it, but he knows sometimes those who need it most are the ones who refuse the help.
"I have one man that I've been trying to convince to be on it and all he eats is sandwiches with tuna fish, because he doesn't cook, he doesn't have a microwave, but he doesn't want to go on the program but he's very much in need of it," Rhoadarmer said.
Even with those setbacks, Rhoadarmer knows he's helping solve the bigger problem of hunger.
"There are a lot of people who do need that meal once a day to sustain their living and it provides them with their one hot meal, at least, a day," Rhoadarmer said.
A lot of people just like 101-year-old Dorothy Johnson. She is a 13-year member of the Meals on Wheels program.
"I look forward to it when it gets to be this time of the day, I'm waiting for it," Johnson said.
Yet, like many others, she was hesitant about joining.
"I thought 'No, I'm Ok. I can eat what I've got and so on.' But, I don't know who mentioned Meals on Wheels to me, but somebody did, and it's wonderful," Johnson said.
Dorothy has plenty to be thankful for, and one thing she credits her long life to is making the decision to have a meal delivered to her front door.
"If I would've been just eating alone here, maybe having a sandwich or bowl of cereal or something, I wouldn't get all the calories, I wouldn't get anything. I probably wouldn't be here, you know?" Johnson said.
Whether it is a volunteer like Duane Rhoadarmer or a client like Dorothy Johnson, they both understand the impact of a simple ring of the doorbell.
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