FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Rep. Rob Woodall knocked on some of the doors of his constituents Oct. 18, but it wasn’t to ask for their vote.
He was participating in handing out food as part of the Meals on Wheels program through the Forsyth County Senior Services Center at Charles Place.
The program provides a nourishing meal and a visit to homebound senior citizens in the community.
Almost 150 homebound seniors in the county are served through the program weekly. The meals and friendly visits are delivered by a group of about 80 volunteers.
Woodall spoke with volunteers, center staff and seniors about the services the county offers, including Meals on Wheels.
He said he was able to learn more about the community and added that his job is a full-time continuing education class.
“The federal government has its fingers in so much,” Woodall said. “My office will often not hear about successes or problems of a program until someone at the local level calls with their expertise and shares it with me.”
In Georgia, senior nutritional services run about $12 million a year from the federal level and is matched with about twice that much from the state and local levels, he said.
Since it’s paid for by taxpayers, Woodall said he wanted to be sure the program was beneficial.
“Knowing we all share a desire to improve the health and wellness of our seniors and to make sure folks who don’t have access to services now have access, the question is ‘are we doing it as well as we can?’” Woodall said. “Or are there things we can do better. I wanted to see how we are doing it Forsyth County.”
There is no economic criterion for the program, he said, rather it’s based on mobility. Often, similar programs will be based on income, but then it excludes those who may truly need it.
Some of the meals are frozen and some are warm, based on the ability of the senior to heat up the food.
“We saw there are those seniors who absolutely have the ability to prepare their food, they just don’t have the ability to get out of the house to get their food,” Woodall said. “Once again leveraging volunteers and resources, dropping off frozen food to the house means only one trip for the volunteer but can provide five or seven days’ worth of food.”
And for citizens, it’s important to have services like this, Woodall said.
“We would do this for our neighbors in Forsyth anyway,” Woodall said. “We think it’s important to take care of one another. When we see a problem we ought to fix it anyway. We are very lucky to live in a community where helping your neighbor is the default position.”