KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — For many homebound senior citizens, Christmas can be isolating. This year, Mobile Meals stepped in to change that.
Mobile Meals Kitchen served 643 seniors in Knox County a hot meal and holiday gifts on Christmas morning. Officials said this large delivery wouldn't be possible without its volunteers.
“These are people that are giving up their Christmas morning and coming out here with their families so they can serve our seniors in our community," said Judith Pelot, the Mobile Meals nutrition services director.
Volunteers like Allie King help serve mobile meals every day. It has become a tradition for her and her family to help on Christmas.
"When I get to have the two older girls and my husband with me, it's like they get to meet all my friends," King said.
One of her 11 deliveries went to 93-year-old Betty Daffron.
"That's great to have people come and visit with you on this special day," Daffron said.
Daffron said being alone on Christmas isn't too festive, but the kind gesture from Mobile Meals meant everything to her. She said having people stop by brightened up the holiday.
“It's everything because we sit here and I’m homebound and don’t go anywhere. They stop in every day and make sure you are safe," Daffron said.
Pelot said organizers start prepping in early October for the Christmas delivery, making sure as many people as possible can enjoy a meal and a Christmas gift.
“Our clients really look forward to seeing the volunteers and receiving a present and hot meal on Christmas Day," Pelot said.
Pelot said for many homebound seniors, volunteers may be the only people they see all day.
This year, Mobile Meals celebrated 50 years of serving the most vulnerable neighbors. It serves more than 1,150 homebound seniors daily Monday through Friday.