Duluth residents Joseph and Shirley Davis got an unexpected surprise with their Meals on Wheels delivery Wednesday: A U.S. congressman.
Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Ga., joined Norcross Meals on Wheels representative Sharon Langley to deliver meals to participants in the program who live in the Duluth area. Although Woodall is involved in national politics, the conversations between the congressman and the people he and Langley visited tended to steer clear of political talk.
There was talk instead about who likes to eat broccoli and chit-chat about one Meals on Wheels recipient’s involvement in local Rotary Club programs.
The Davis’ talked with Woodall at length about gardening, history and genealogy, particularly Joseph Davis’ Native-American ancestry. His ancestors were removed from Georgia and sent to a reservation in Oklahoma in the 19th century.
“I’m a member of the Cherokee Nation,” Davis told Woodall. “My great-granddaddy was sent on the Trail of Tears, and all of his family … (The government) located them in Oklahoma City and Tulsa and Briartown. My great-granddaddy was in Adair and, of course, my granddaddy grew up there and when he was 19, he told his daddy, ‘I want to go back to Georgia. I want to go to Georgia. I want to buy my granddaddy’s house and barn.’ “
Although the visit came a day before Thanksgiving, the meals Woodall and Langley brought to elderly residents were their usual meals that included one meat, two vegetables, a dessert, a roll and a drink. Volunteers made up small bags of candy corn and put turkey cut outs on the bags.
Woodall said it was his first time working with Norcross Meals on Wheels, but he also said it was not his first time helping a Meals on Wheels program deliver meals.
“One of the things that is different about this program is that it focuses on not just older Americans, but Americans with disabilities as well,” Woodall said. “The Older Americans Act has an age 60 requirement. If you have a need, you have to have a need and be over the age of 60.
“This chapter here in Norcross, because they raise the money themselves, they are able to serve needs wherever and with whomever those needs arise. That’s a special ministry that goes on here and we wanted to learn a little bit more about how it is that they’re able to do that work.”
Norcross Meals on Wheels officials said they appreciated Woodall’s offer to join them on one of the routes Wednesday. Program Coordinator Sandee Phillips said it gave the group a chance to highlight what they do in the community.
The 38-year-old Norcross Meals on Wheels group provides hot meals to home-bound senior citizens, veterans and disabled residents in the Norcross, Duluth, Peachtree Corners and Berkeley Lake area. Phillips said Woodall’s participation on Wednesday marked the first time a congressman had joined a Norcross Meals on Wheels representative on their delivery route.
“They contacted me,” Phillips said. “Anytime you can get a spotlight on your organization, it always helps to get the information out about what you do and what you need.”
In the Norcross Meals on Wheels program’s case, that need is financial since its source of funding is contributions and fundraising.
Phillips said additional information about the Norcross Meals on Wheels group can be found at norcrossmealsonwheels.org.