A group of concerned people in Santa Maria, mostly from different churches, came together in 1971 to form our local Meals on Wheels program.

We were concerned about the elderly who had no one to care about them or lived alone. They were unable to prepare meals for themselves and as a result some of them were malnourished.

Through our Meals on Wheels program we have been able to deliver hot meals to these people. Our volunteers have been able to bring some joy and light into lives that have been devoid of it. These caring volunteers have taken time out of their daily routines to give of themselves. They feed the hungry, helping those who are often shut out to life.

The Bible reminds us of our responsibility to feed and care for the hungry. I know there is one question God is going to ask me at the conclusion of my life — "Did you feed the hungry?”

Years ago, when my wife and I were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary, we spent some time in the Fiji Islands. We found ourselves in a small town called SavuSavu on the island of Vanua Levu. One day we were having lunch in the only restaurant in town, the Ping Ho' Café. There were about eight tables in the restaurant. The restaurant was almost completely filled because an Australian cruise ship had anchored in the bay and people from the ship came ashore.

My wife and I were shown a table by a Fijian waitress. As we were looking at menus I noticed a little old Fijian man come into the restaurant, dressed in a white T-shirt and shorts, no shoes. He sat down at a small table that was just inside the door. Our waitress noticed the old man, then turned around and went into the kitchen. A few moments later she came out with a plate heaped with Chinese food. As she passed our table it smelled absolutely delicious. She placed this meal in front of the old Fijian man.

Then a strange thing happened. Some of the Aussie men sitting at the table next to us gave that waitress a look that said, "We were here first. How come he is being served before us?” The waitress was perceptive enough to interpret the look. She came over to their table, and said, "He's old, he's poor, he's hungry, he doesn't have any money, so we feed him first.”

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It was almost as if she was also saying, "Isn't this what we are supposed to do?" It has been 43 years since I first heard those words and I have never forgotten them.

That philosophy has been at the heart of Meals on Wheels for 48 years. For the first 20 years no one took any salary. We operated the program from our homes and churches. As the program expanded we realized it was necessary to hire staff. But in the years we have served Santa Maria shut-ins we estimate we have served at least 250,000 meals.

Meals on Wheels is in desperate need of volunteers to help deliver meals to our seniors. Please consider it. You will find that in blessing others you will be blessed.

Remember that text from the Old Testament where the prophet asks and answers the question. "What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with your God." The kindness you show to those who are vulnerable will help make this a better world.

If you would like to help please call MOW a 805-938-1200, or visit our website at: www.mealsonwheels.org.

We need you. Who knows, maybe in the future you will need us. We are looking forward to our next 48 years.

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Rev. Robert Wedaa is founder and chairman emeritus of Meals on Wheels.